The Kazakhstan Pavilion and Science Museum is the iconic, high-performing centerpiece of EXPO-2017, last year’s international exposition. The building accomplishes the client’s goals of a spherical-shaped building, while also meet the designer’s programmatic and sustainability goals.
A pure-glass sphere—smooth, not faceted like a typical geosphere structure—was envisioned. The innovative, double-curved-glass façade gently curves in three dimensions. To achieve these results, the glass fabricator heated the glass in special ovens until the material was soft enough to take the form of a mold and then slowly cooled.
The 80-meter-diameter structure is slightly modified from a perfect sphere. The form was tested and modeled to determine how to minimize energy use, maximize daylighting, control glare, and take advantage of renewable sources with integrated photovoltaics and wind turbines.
The sphere is supported by a central double core that is used to organize stairways and support functions such as service elevators and restrooms. A central atrium is surrounded by eight passenger elevators where visitors can experience the building and exhibitions as they travel on glass elevators from the ground level plaza to the top observation and event space. At the base, a covered access plaza organizes the entry sequence to the museum floors and provides additional exhibition space. Visitors can walk under the sphere and see into the interior spaces for alternative vantage points. Levels 2-7 are designated exhibition floors and level 8, the highest floor, is an event space with a viewing platform to observe optimum views of Astana.