A decade ago, Nursultan Nazarbayev moved the capital of Kazakhstan from Almaty to Astana, a freezing city on the steppe. The government has already spent billions on construction there, but now it has bigger plans:
Kazakhstan has unveiled a new architectural project for its capital Astana—a giant transparent tent that will contain an indoor city.
The 150m-high (500ft) dome, designed by UK architect Norman Foster, will be built in just over a year.
The tent is being made from special material that absorbs sunlight to create the effect of summer inside….
Underneath, in an area larger than 10 football stadiums, will be a city with squares and cobbled streets, canals, shopping centres and golf courses.
The idea is to recreate summer, so that when the outside temperature is -30C, the residents of the Kazakh capital can play outdoor tennis, take boat rides or sip coffee on the pavement cafes.
Feels like the setup to a J.G. Ballard story. Write your own ending.
[Via Things, which describes Astana as an "architectural zoo."]