Expo 2017 in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan took place between June 10th to September 10th. The Expo proudly brought up the most debatable modern problem on how to reduce CO2 emissions by using safe and sustainable energy. The official theme is “Future Energy” with the subtitle “Solutions for Tackling Humankind’s Greatest Challenge.” It intends to showcase the most innovative design that can give practical solution on using sustainable energy in every architectural design. The event exhibited these latest masterpieces on 173-hectare site which was designed by Chicago firm Arian Smith and Gordon Gill Architecture.
The Expo has a long history, dated back to 1851 when the UK held the first great exhibition of world industrial fair. However, it is the first world’s fair in Kazakhstan and the first in Central Asia, making the preparation was very well examined and got full attention from the government. It is expected to attract around 4 million visitors during its 3-month exhibition. The Expo is also known as “World Fairs” as over 100 countries were participated and presented the latest and most innovative design from the best architect all around the world. In the past, it successfully produced the iconic structures such as Eiffel Tower and Seattle Space Needle.
The centerpiece of the ground is a masterpiece of pavilions from Ka by Smith and Gill. The grandeur glass globe sat on top of a rippling glazed podium. One hemisphere of the dome was totally see-through, while the other was a semi-translucent. A precise metal framework covers the entire dome that gives a futuristic vibe and safety. Tiered terraces built in wavy edges sat proudly inside the dome, allowing the visitors to look at the other side. The clear wall allows the pavilions utilize solar power as its main energy source. Once the exhibition is finished, everything else inside the building is designed to be easily altered into a new concept, therefore no demolition is needed.
Another interesting design is the UK pavilions designed by British Architect Asif Khan who worked with Brian Eno. The title of this very awesome work is “We Are Energy”. Khan elaborated the beautiful sounds and animations to create a beautiful soundscape in the pavilions. It pictures the creations of energy, beginning with the origins of the universe almost 14 billion years ago. The dome was constructed in form of illuminated metal cage, circled by the long wall of the 360-degree screen. The design is inspired by human ingenuity, landscape, and nature. The visitor can enjoy the glowing structure inside the dome and learned about the energy from a multi-tonal narration.
The Austrian pavilion invites the visitors to work on their way to produce an energy source. Designed by Johann Moser and BMW Architects, the pavilions provide several interactive installations that connected into gadgets and machinery. One of the examples is a room full of stationary bikes that are connected to the screens that hung on the front wall. The visitor should ride the bike if they want to enjoy the performance on the screen. The interior of the pavilion is dominated with the white color that made up the floor, background and metal frame, while cheerful ornaments in shocking colors scattered in every section. The engaging and well-planned theme was able to bring an interesting and memorable experience to the visitors.
The Expo 2017 is expected to bring a new hope of world architectural development. As our unrenewable source of energy slowly will run out if human keep exploiting them in every manner, we hope these brilliant innovations will help increase human awareness of the usage of reusable energy in its architectural design in the future.