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River-powered skyscraper designed in Kazakhstan



A dramatic new building design for Astana, Kazakhstan has been created that spans the Ishim River and draws energy from the flowing water.

The Tower of the Sun is designed to evoke the Kazakhstan national flag
(Image via Omega Render)

The design by Netherlands-based firm Fundamental Architects, named the Tower of the Sun, incorporates traditional Kazakh cultural elements into a futuristic building with hi-tech specifications. The huge circular hole in the centre of the building gives it a unique look that also evokes the Kazakhstan national flag and other traditional aspects.

“The ideas and symbolism of Kazakh culture and traditions are deeply intertwined in the concept of the project on every level, starting from the circular opening in the centre of the building symbolising the Sun, Peach and Unity - a symbol of core importance in Kazakh culture, to the triangular elements in the structure and interiors, which represent a powerful personal mascot that can be usually found in the traditional jewelry and clothing,” the architecture firm explained.

The central hole represents Sun, Peace and Unity, while the triangular panels symbolise traditional Kazakh culture
(Image via Omega Render)

The central hole also maintains views of the palace from the highway and river path.

“The building is strategically positioned on the view line between the main highway and the palace, so while driving on a highway we do not block the view towards the Presidential Palace,” explained architect Vladimir Konovalov.

The 121 metre tall building spans the Ishim river, using the flowing water as a sustainable power source
(Image via Omega Render)

The 75,000 square metre building stands 121 metres tall and crosses the Ishim river, with the lower level featuring a public bridge for pedestrians and cyclists. Above the bridge will be a two-storey shopping centre, with luxury flats and offices above. A publicly accessible roof terrace will offer panoramic views of the city.

"It becomes an important attractor on the city scale and provides a much needed pedestrian connection between two important landscape parks that are positioned on different sides of the river," said Konovalov.

The building will include a public bridge across the river, a two storey shopping centre and luxury flats and offices
(Image via Omega Render)

The tower is intended to incorporate sustainable technology with net-zero energy requirements, using the river below to generate power.

“It doesn’t require a typical dam for creation of hydroelectric power, but introduces a narrower river cross section under the building to increase the stream speed and its power. Heat pump and smart building orientation which avoids overheating of the building from the south-western side during hot summer days maximises the efficiency of the building.”

The design was planned by Fundamental Architects, with artwork generated by Omega Render
(Image via Omega Render)

The design is part of an architecture competition held for Kazakhstan developer BI Group, and is one of three options being considered for the site.

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River-powered skyscraper designed in Kazakhstan - Time to read 3 min
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