BIG: Kazakhstan's new National Library in Astana
"BIG to design Kazakhstan’s new National Library in Astana.

Invited as one of five pre-selected architect led teams, BIG was awarded first prize in an open international design competition which included 19 entrants among others Lord Norman Foster and Zaha Hadid.

The new National Library, named after the first President 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 design was hailed as being both modern and rational and anchored in a classical vocabulary of traditional libraries. 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, Founding Partner on the Astana National Library 2009 "
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