11 12 / 2013
27 11 / 2013
20 11 / 2013
This week is proposal week. I’m applying for school, a grant and an exhibit. Lots of writing and conceptualizing. Fingers crossed, hopefully all the pieces will fall into place…
30 10 / 2013
I took a day long trip to Astana with my father. We booked a comfortable train that carried us for 10 hours through the steppes of Kazakhstan. I slept through most of the trip but caught a glimpse of Kazakh wilderness, just as we were leaving Almaty train station. I love travelling by train, as I am easily lost in observing the changing landscape.
As I mentioned before I was very eager to see the capital, as the city was booming in new construction and it was a current hub for international architects’ projects either in construction or recently built. At last I was on my way there…
We arrived early morning to Astana’s 70’s looking station with funny space layouts and out of place interior elements. One example is while having breakfast in a station cafe, the cafeteria was positioned in a large space with one spiral staircase stuck in the corner of the room leading to a second floor mezzanine. Little that I knew, my encounter with bad design has just begun.
We passed through the older Astana neighbourhoods, or what people called the Soviet part of Astana.
We drove to the “left shore” - a new hip neighbourhood where starchitecture is bursting at the seams. I caught a glimpse of a new mall by Norman Foster - Khan Shatyr, but first, we had to start at the observation tower - Bayterek
It is an impressive steel structure that looks like a bursting firecracker. I was keen on exploring the glass globe at the top. The tower has central location in the overall plan of the city. We passed through ticket booths in a room with nothing but the elevator shaft. As we entered the glass globe everything was bathed in golden colour.
Notice Norman Foster’s tent mall in the distance aligns perfectly with the park promenade and the tower.
In the middle of the room there is pedestal with the president’s hand imprint, cast in brass. Talk about a big ego!
I was overwhelmed by how symmetrical the district is. The park and buildings stretched far into the horizon aligning perfectly. The symmetry pulled everything together, however the buildings were all different from one another, and seemed to be like monuments on their own without any relationship to each other or the park for that matter. There was no graceful meeting of the landscape and integration with the ground. Not a single one of them looked average, all were over the top, covered in lush materials like golden or blue glass, marble, granite. Something’s up, the symmetry is too oppressive. It vaguely reminded me of classical planning of older European cities like Paris or Palace of Versailles, except there everything somehow was pulled together. Amazed and bewildered I decided to visit some of those glamorous buildings for a closer look.
More in the second part of my day in Astana.
29 10 / 2013
22 10 / 2013
Visit my new blog on visualizing landscape through various media. Current project is Sketchy Sunday, with a sketch (or two) posted every week documenting natural and urban landscape of Kazakhstan. Click on Landschaft Visions on the top of my page!
17 10 / 2013