A radical steel and glass pyramid was opened this week in Astana, Kazakhstan after a blistering 21 month procurement and construction programme.
The Palace of Peace, commissioned and financed by the president of Kazakhstan, was designed by Buro Happold with architect Sir Norman Foster. Construction was carried out by Turkish contractor Sembol.Delivery was timed for the triennial Congress of Leaders of the World & Traditional Religions, which meets this month. Construction cost was £37M.The pyramid, measuring 62m square in plan and standing 62m high, is founded on a deep reinforced concrete basement, housing the lower portion of a conference theatre.The mass concrete foundation also provides thermal mass to help combat the extreme heat and cold of the Kazakh climate.Above ground, the structure consists of triangulated circular hollow section members.To cope with differential movement caused by expansion and contraction, and resulting from seismic loading, sliding bearings have been installed between the steel superstructure and its base.It is anchored at just four points, at the centre of each face. These anchorages are fixed in one horizontal axis but allow free movement in the other.