The grand opening of the Foster + Partners' designed Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center created quite a buzz in the architecture world. Not only is this the largest tent in the world -- it is also located in Astana, the new capital of Kazakhstan, which is a difficult environment to erect such an audacious project. Measuring 150 meters tall with a 200 meter radius and 100,000 square meters contained within the translucent canopy, this is one of the most visually striking projects we've seen this year. Read on to see our exclusive photos of the world's biggest tent, and the beauty and engineering that went into it.
Developed by Foster + Partners to be a center piece for the new capital city of Astana, Kazakhstan, the project had to withstand the extreme temperature swings of the elevated and arid region. Although the outside temperature varies from -35 degrees to +35 degrees Celsius, the interior maintains a hospitable 15-30 degrees. To prevent condensation in the winter, three translucent layers of ethylene tetrafluoroethylene fabric or EFTE act to channel warm air. In the summer, cooler air displaces the hot air vented from the top. The transparency and scale of the tent stands out in the skyline like a beacon, changing colors at night and streaming in natural light during the day.
A center tripod column supports a cable system web, which in turn supports the skin. The building shelters a park and various entertainment venues for the people of Kazakhstan, including events facilities, a shopping mall, a movie complex, an elevated water park, and multiple eateries. The Khan Shatyr Center provides a powerful symbol for a country that is breaking from its isolation to join an increasingly interconnected world.
photos by Karim Yergaliyev