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Philipp Meuser (ed.)
Architectural Guide
With contributions from Adil Dalbai and Guido Herz
134 × 245 mm, 224 pages
400 illustrations, softcover
ISBN 978-3-86922-406-0 (English)
EUR 38,00 / CHF 46,40
April 2015. DOM publishers, Berlin

New from DOM publishers:

Philipp Meuser (ed.)

Architectural Guide Astana

Expo 2017 will take place in Astana. The capital of Kazakhstan will have just turned twenty years old by that time: prior to 1997, Astana was nothing other than a small provincial nest in the steppe. It is not only architects from Kazakhstan who are making their mark with their visionary designs. International superstars too are designing spectacular buildings in the city and the Expo quarters. More experimental architecture can take place here than would be possible with any other city and there is no historical legacy of buildings to be taken into account. Following the city's foundation, so much construction work has taken place that it has delivered enough material for a whole book.

The Astana: Architectural Guide chronicles a selection of eighty buildings and projects in the young Kazakh metropolis, examining the contradictory nature at play between oriental traditions, western models and Soviet influences. This publication is also intended as a time-critical analysis of architecture and capital city planning in the heart of Eurasia. Formerly an outpost of the Tsarist Empire in the steppe, the location had developed into a typical Soviet provincial town. Following its independence in 1991, Kazakhstan has been ruled by Nursultan Nazarbayev, who in 1997 made Astana the capital of the young nation. Ever since, a prosperous economy and construction sector have continued to flourish, in addition to the burgeoning population – not least owing to buoyant oil revenues. Besides the old centre, the new town has emerged in accordance with Kisho Kurokawa's master plan. Global stakeholders such as Norman Foster, Massimiliano Fuksas, SOM and Rem Koolhaas are also participating in this unique experimental laboratory.

Over a total of six chapters, readers will learn a lot of interesting facts about a contradictory and diverse city which is relatively unknown. Interviews with key players such as Timur Turekulov, Chief Editor of the (only) architectural magazine to exist in Kazakhstan, and Kisho Kurokawa – who died in 2007 – on the master plan of Astana enliven the book with personal aspects and internal perspectives. One chapter is devoted to the World Fair and its architecture which is also viewed in terms of its cultural and architectural history. In their approach to the city's architecture, the authors Philipp Meuser, Adil Dalbai and Guido Herz, all proven experts on Kazakhstan, create a detailed portrait of a city in a country characterised by gigantic proportions and breakneck development on the one hand and environmental destruction and poverty on the other.


All images: © Philipp Meuser

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The travel guides by DOM publishers are intended for those interested in building culture and are presented in a convenient format. A careful selection of projects and expert proofreading make these books a (lexical) reference work, while background information and a fresh design stimulate imaginary journeys. The series was awarded an Iconic Award 2014 by the German Design Council.