From the ruins of formerly vast Soviet Union new independent countries were born. During that uneasy time, people of Kazakhstan were faced with a challenge of laying a foundation for their new government. In the beginning of this ambitious mission when every decision impacted the destiny of a whole nation, leading the country into the future was the first president of the Kazakhstan Republic Nursultan Nazarbaev. Nowadays, Kazakhstan is a successful developing country actively participating in worldwide processes.
On the South of the country in the city of Turkestan a government-lead program is unfolding aimed at turning the city into a cultural capital of the whole of Turkic world stretching from the Mediterranean sea to the Pacific and Arctic oceans. As a part of the program the Nazarbaev-Kazakhstan center is to be built, international competition for which was won by ATRIUM+Too Network Construction. The intention was to create a space that would express the identity of Kazakhstan’s culture and nation’s ambitious future. The main spatial inspiration was taken from a yurt which is a traditional Turkic nomadic hut representing the great Kazakh tradition and symbolic philosophy of life. Taking a yurt as a module and formally manipulating it, we produced a structure that represents the collective image of nomadic tribes, steppe landscapes, and authentic natural and cultural patterns.
Inside the main yurt, the central hall of Nursultan Nazarbaev is situated, equipped with interactive media screens attached to the walls. Displayed in other halls are historical papers, illustrations and photographs portraying the time of president Nazarbaev’s reign. There also are smaller yurts with cafes, administration, and museum pavilions for temporary exhibitions. Together, they form an aul made up of several yurts as a symbol of national unity.
At the top, the exhibition spaces are covered with a sleek roof casing. This shape is a representative image of Kazakhstan’s landscapes: desert dunes, magnificent mountains, and affluent rivers. The roof with a viewing terrace and an open-air event amphitheater can be accessed both from outdoor and from the indoor spaces. A vast variety of events is regularly held there which in itself is a representation of Kazakh society’s candor and democratic politics