Saturday, November 13, 2010

khan shatyr

the baiterek tower is the official iconic symbol of astana, but khan shatyr seems to typify the place for me. architecturally it's pretty stunning. designed by a world famous architect, norman foster, it looks like a giant sweeping tent. at night it seems to glow. inside it's just as amazing, with its sweeping support structure and an artificial beach with a sand and wave pool on the top floor.

but the rest of it is just a shopping mall. if i didn't look up, i could believe i was in king of prussia. astana really is filled with western-style malls, which is a big deal in kaz. outside of almaty and astana they don't really have them. so i understand why the locals would find them so exciting. but does astana really need another high-end mall? and it just seems like a waste to fill such an amazing structure with the same shops you can see everywhere else in astana, and the u.s. for that matter (i should mention that a cinnabon is coming soon!)

the other weird thing about khan shatyr is how just the city just stops on the other side of the building. that's what happens when you quickly build a large city on a small town in the middle of nowhere. while a natural city would have rings of houses and suburbs surrounding its big-building core, beyond khan shatyr on one side, and beyond that blue bowl-shaped thing on the opposite side of the city, there is nothing but empty steppe. later i'll post a photo of the city's edge, but this is the khan shatyr post so i'll post these instead:

Khan Shatyr

Khan Shatyr at night

Khan Shatyr Interior-night 1

Khan Shatyr Interior-night 3

The Beach 2