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BIG: New National Library in Astana, Kazakhstan


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BIG architects were awarded first prize in an open international competition to design Kazakhstan’s new national library in Astana, named after the firstpresident of the republic of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, encompasses an estimated 33.000m2.

The winning proposal was chosen by the prime minister of Kazakhstan K. Masimov together with Astana’s Akim i.Tasmagambetov and a council of architects. The circular organisation of the archive at its inner core combines the clarity of a linear organisation with the convenience of an infinite loop.

‘the design of the national library combines four universal archetypes across space and time into a new national symbol: the circle, the rotunda, the arch and the yurt are merged into the form of a moebius strip. the clarity of the circle, the courtyard of the rotunda, the gateway of the arch and the soft silhouette of the yurt are combined to create a new national monument appearing local and universal, contemporary and timeless,
unique and archetypal at the same time
‘ – bjarke ingels

The library is conceived as a symbiosis of urbanity and nature. Like astana, which is located in the heart of the kazakh mainland, it will be integrated into the heart of a re-created kazakh landscape. the park around the library is designed like a living library of trees, plants, minerals and rocks allowing visitors to experience a cross section of kazakhstan’s natural landscape.

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