Kazakhstan Pavilion and Science Museum (Nur Alem)

Kazakhstan Pavilion and Science Museum (Nur Alem)

Architect
Adrian Smith and Gordan Gill Architecture
Location
Astana, Kazakhstan | View Map
Project Year
2017
Category
Museums

Pavilions
Nick Melnichenko

Kazakhstan Pavilion and Science Museum (Nur Alem)

Adrian Smith and Gordan Gill Architecture as Architects

The Kazakhstan Pavilion and Science Museum, known as Nur-Alem in the country, is the iconic, high-performing centerpiece of EXPO-2017, last year’s international exposition, which ran from June 10-September 10, 2017. The site is currently being transformed into a Post-Expo development with cultural facilities, an office and research park, and residential components that seeks to attract international entrepreneurs. Inspired by the EXPO-2017 theme, “Future Energy,” the Kazakhstan Pavilion and Science Museum embodies a futuristic design that is optimized to incorporate sustainable philosophies. 


The museum was developed to accomplish the client’s goals of a spherical-shaped building that anchored the master plan of the exposition, while enabling the design team to push the design forward to meet the firm’s programmatic and sustainability goals. A pure-glass sphere—smooth, not faceted like a typical geosphere structure—was envisioned. This innovative, double-curved-glass facade features glass panels that gently curve in three dimensions. To achieve these results, the glass fabricator heated the glass in special ovens until the material was soft enough to take the form of a mold and then slowly cooled.


The 80-meter-diameter structure is slightly modified from a perfect sphere shape to achieve the designer’s renewable-energy goals. The design team used Building Information Modeling (BIM) to explore multiple iterations of the design in a virtual space early in the design process. The energy model created for the project specified a target of 81,056 kWh/yr of electricity and currently about 2.21% of the building’s energy demand is created from the PV system. To further improve energy generation, a scoop was carved out of the building’s top on for wind turbines. The turbines are predicted to produce a total of 52,700 kWh/yr of electricity or the equivalent of 1.6% of the building’s total electricity demand or 0.9% of total energy demand.


The epitome the EXPO-2017 theme “Future Energy,” is the exposition’s centerpiece, the Kazakhstan Pavilion and Science Museum, which seeks to educate visitors about our complex relationship with energy use.


The design team used Building Information Modeling (BIM) to explore multiple iterations of the design in a virtual space early in the design process. Each version was analyzed for design expression, energy impact, and structural integrity. The sphere’s complex design required close collaboration with the structural consultant for all opportunities for energy generation to be investigated, and several were incorporated into the building’s design.


After the initial form was chosen, more detailed analysis was conducted using Rhino/Grasshopper to further refine the form and to maximize sun exposure for the solar panels. Many investigations were completed and tested to integrate the BIPV panels while balancing the requirements of other critical building components such as MEP surface area requirements, collision with other architectural elements, maximizing wind swept area for the turbines, and the rationalization the double-curved minimal surface geometry. Ultimately Building Integrated Photo Voltaic cells (BIPV) were installed at the top of the sphere to generate renewable energy for the building. During the testing phase, the energy model predicted 81,056 kWh/yr of electricity or 2.21% of total energy demand.


The building incorporates PV that is integrated into the glazing of the air scoop and housing for the wind turbines that are mounted at the top of the pavilion. The monocrystalline semi-transparent BIPV panels range from 40% to 80% density. The energy model created for the project specified a target of 81,056 kWh/yr of electricity. Currently about 2.21% of the building’s energy demand is created from the PV system.


28% of the post expo electrical demand will be met from on-site BIPV energy systems. The total post-expo grid energy demand is 47% less than an ASHRAE 90.1 2010 Baseline, while the office buildings during post-expo will use 21%-39% less energy than ASHRAE 90.1:2010 Baseline (overall reduction is 38%).


•                    Predicted EUI in kBtu/sf/yr excluding on-site renewable energy contribution: 85

•                    Predicted EUI in kBtu/sf/yr including on-site renewable energy contribution (carbon offsets will not be counted): 83

•                    Predicted % regional energy reduction per Energy Star Target Finder: 12


Known locally as Nur Alem

•World’s first complete sphere building

•World’s largest spherical building

•Building area: 23,563 sm

•Land Area: 6,370 sm

•Building to land ratio: 3.69

•Exhibition area: 15,844 sm

•80-meter diameter

•100-meter height

•8m floor-to-floor height

•Supported by a central double core

•Level 1 podium and entrance area

•Levels 2-7 are designated exhibition floors, and level 8, the highest floor, will be an event space and viewing platform with optimum views toward Astana

•Level 8 viewing platform can support the weight of 7 tons

•Building required 13,000 tonnes of metal and 3,535 insulated glass windows weighing 1,626 tons

•Building integrated solar photovoltaics collect solar energy for the building. During the testing phase, the energy model predicted 81,056 kwh/yr of electricity or 2.21% of total energy demand

•Wind turbines are set into the top of the building, which were predicted to produce a total of 52,700 kwh/yr of electricity or the equivalent of 1.6% of the buildings total electricity demand or 0.9% of total energy demand

•During EXPO-2017, the sphere was a museum for the history, culture, traditions, places of interest and also recent achievements of Kazakhstan

•In the post-exposition mode, the sphere will be a Museum of Future, where the basic types of energy will be demonstrated on site: space, sun, biomass, wind, waste, and kinetics

Project Credits
Structural Engineer
Building Information Specialist
Theater Consultant
Product Spec Sheet

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