Expo 2017 Astana and the inauguration of a vibrant mixed-use community

Expo 2017 Astana and the inauguration of a vibrant mixed-use community

Planning approaches can vary as much as architectural approaches, just like any process that aims for a controlled outcome. While urban design and urban planning are blanket terms for the strategic organisation and growth projection of complex urban entities like districts, neighbourhoods, cities, and countries, designing a plan for an Expo, and for its legacy, proves to be a distinct and elaborate endeavour.

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« Artistes & Robots » : d’Astana à Paris

Artists & Robots at the Astana Contemporary Art Center, Expo 2017

Le 10 juin 2017, « Artistes & Robots » faisait ses premiers pas au sein de l’Exposition Spécialisée d’Astana au Kazakhstan. Dans un univers virtuel et interactif, des installations générées par des logiciels informatiques et des robots conçus par des artistes traduisaient l’énergie créatrice et interrogeaient les visiteurs quant à la définition d’une œuvre et à l’avenir de l’Homme.

Après Astana en 2017, « Artistes & Robots » fait son entrée à Paris, à partir du 5 avril, au Grand Palais.

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Five Things I Liked About Astana’s Expo 2017

Five Things I Liked About Astana’s Expo 2017

I just returned from a visit to Expo 2017 in Kazakhstan and thoroughly enjoyed my visit. Though it’s a small fair in a remote country (at least for those of us in the USA), I thought it was well done and offered more than expected.

Here a few things I enjoyed about it, and one thing I didn't.

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Astana Welcomes Placido Domingo’s “Operalia”

Astana Welcomes Placido Domingo’s “Operalia”

The World Opera Competition 2017 -“Operalia”, begins today in Astana as part of the wide-ranging cultural programme within the framework of Specialised Expo 2017. The prestigious annual event, which takes place in famous cities around the globe, will take place for the very first time in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, from 24-29 July, in the Astana Opera.

Founded in 1993 by renowned opera conductor and director, Plácido Domingo, “Operalia” is considered the opera equivalent of the Academy Awards, and is open to young artists aged 18-32 years old, who get an opportunity to benefit from Domingo’s personal experience and expertise. At Expo 2017 Astana, the 25th edition of the competition will feature 40 contestants from 17 countries, and will give four singers from Kazakhstan - soprano Maria Mudryak, tenor Damir Saduakassov and baritones Stanislav Li and Rasul Zharmambetov, the opportunity to represent their country at home.

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A week at Expo 2017 #7: Building the Future, Saving the Planet

A week at Expo 2017 #7: Building the Future, Saving the Planet

An Expo is a unique place where we can learn from each other in a spirit of cooperation, and, where we can learn with each other, in a spirit of innovation. Expo 2017 Astana is a platform of education and exchange on “Future Energy”, where this complex subject is addressed by continued debate through meetings, conferences, forums and round table discussions.

The Future Energy Forum (FEF) is a key working event of Expo 2017, hosting a series of 12 dedicated conferences between 29 June and 5 September. Organised in the Expo Congress Centre under the banner of “Building the Future, Saving the Planet”, FEF provides a platform for the discussion of the key energy challenges highlighted within the Expo’s national, international and thematic pavilions. It is thus an opportunity to tackle strategic priorities and the key energy challenges that the planet faces: climate change, poverty, water access, and biodiversity.

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A week at Expo 2017 #6: Energy for All

A week at Expo 2017 #6: Energy for All

The seventh UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), ensuring “access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”, is a global economic and social priority, as reflected by one of the three subthemes of Expo 2017 Astana: “Energy for All”.

In his opening message to Expo 2017, UN Secretary-General António Guterres reiterated the fact that “Energy is vital to our lives [...] Access to energy helps children to study at night, farmers to grow more crops and hospitals to provide better care.”

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A week at Expo 2017 #5: An immersion into Future Energy

A week at Expo 2017 #5: An immersion into Future Energy

How can exhibits captivate minds and educate a large and varied audience on the subject of “Future Energy”? As a Specialised Expo, Expo 2017 Astana brings the challenges and issues around its theme to a large audience, an objective that is achieved through architecture, forums, meetings, displays and, importantly, by an array of techniques and new technologies that offer deep and dynamic experiences with the Expo 2017’s “Future Energy” theme.

Interaction is key. In Austria’s pavilion, visitors have the chance to interact with the exhibits themselves to measure the real power of energy by using their own bodies to produce energy. This involves pulling weights to spin turbines and pedalling on bikes to generate enough energy to power different screens, culminating in an impressive musical performance.

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A week at Expo 2017 #4: Every day is a show

A week at Expo 2017 #4:  Every day is a show

The vast cutural and entertainment programme is a major part of the Expo experience, with visitors spoiled for choice among the different shows, performances and spectacles on offer. Expo 2017 Astana proposes thousands of cultural activities throughout its three-month duration, with something for everyone.

Every night on the Expo site, the Amphitheatre hosts concerts from Kazakh and international artists and musicians, drawing crowds to a host of celebrations. The Expo Amphitheatre has already welcomed local star Dimash Kudaibergen and is to feature Dutch DJ Afrojack next week, among many others such as Steve Aoki on 29 July and the MTV Festival on 19 August. Additionally, numerous other venues in town are also hosting concerts such as Black Star on 8 July last night or Eros Ramazzotti next month, on 19 August.

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A week at Expo 2017 #3: A journey inside Nur Alem, the nucleus of Expo 2017

A week at Expo 2017 #3: A journey inside Nur Alem, the nucleus of Expo 2017

Designed by prominent American architect duo Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill, Nur Alem, the stunning sphere at the centre of Expo 2017 Astana, is the largest spherical building in the world with a diameter of 80 metres.

The 5,000m2 ground floor houses the Kazakhstan national pavilion, introducing visitors to the host country and its vision of “Future Energy” firstly via interactive images of Kazakhstan’s geography and cultural traditions.

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A week at Expo 2017 #2: Welcome to Astana

A week at Expo 2017 #2: Welcome to Astana

The sphere-shaped Kazakhstan pavilion designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill at the centre of the Expo 2017’s site is the latest addition to the city’s bold and diverse architecture, and its intellectual legacy will be a boost to the city’s striking status as contemporary and business capital of the country.

What is perhaps most astounding about Astana is the progress and development the city has made in just two decades. Originally Akmoly, the city was declared capital of Kazakhstan only in 1997, replacing Almaty in the south of the country. As a result, Astana is a planned city, straddling the right and left banks of the Ishim River.

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A Week at Expo 2017 #1: A Passport to the Expo

A Week at Expo 2017 #1: A Passport to the Expo

Passports give us the opportunity to cross borders and discover new horizons, while keeping a record of our journeys throughout the world. As the first day of the "Week at Expo 2017" series, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Expo passports and their continued popularity to this day.

Organisers of Expo 1967 Montreal first issued Expo passports as a novel form of ticket, with a separate page for each participating country to encourage visits to as many pavilions as possible. Visitors could either purchase an adult passport, or a youth passport. Shaped like a small booklet, these “passports” were sold at the entrance to the Expo site, and have since become one of the most popular souvenirs for visitors who want to keep track of all the different pavilions they visit.

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Six Reasons to Visit an Expo

Six Reasons to Visit an Expo

Every Expo is a one-of-a-kind experience. Yet there are things they have in common that make the case for why everyone should go to one.

With Expo 2017 Astana coming up, here are my top reasons to go:

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From Past to Future Energy: innovation fuelling Expos, 1851-2017

From Past to Future Energy: innovation fuelling Expos, 1851-2017

On 10 June, Expo 2017 will open in Astana, Kazakhstan, under the theme “Future Energy.” The Specialised Expo will be an opportunity for host country and international participants alike to showcase the latest technologies and innovations in energy production, storage, access and use.

While the organisers, participants and visitors to Expo 2017 Astana will rightly focus on the latest innovations and trends that will shape the future of energy, the past can also provide inspiration. Previous Expos, at which innovation has been showcased and celebrated, may serve as an example and teach us lessons about the future.

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