A multi-billion-dollar futuristic city will host the 2017 World’s Expo — take a look inside

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An artistic rendering of the new Astana.
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Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

Next year, approximately four million people from around the world will flock to Astana, Kazakhstan for the 2017 World’s Expo. Taking place from June 10 to September 10, the international conference will explore innovations in sustainable energy.

In preparation for the event, part of Astana is transforming into a glimmering, futuristic city, designed by Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill Architecture. The American Institute of Architects gave the design an Innovation Award on Monday.

The 18.7 million-square-foot master plan – which features a citywide smart grid as well as buildings powered by solar panels, wind turbines, and a citywide smart grid – incorporates the 2017 Expo’s theme. The design, dubbed Astana Expo City 2017, calls for schools, parks, a hotel, offices, an arts center, a 1,000-seat theater, and 700 residential units.

As The Atlantic notes, estimates for the project’s cost vary widely. Transforming Astana has cost the Asian nation approximately $10 to $30 billion, and the upcoming Expo has only resulted in additional construction and expense.

Keep scrolling to take a look at what Astana will look like in 2017.


Astana Expo City will extend over 18.7 million square feet of Astana, Kazakhstan, which makes up a small portion of the city.

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Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

The design revolves around a massive, glowing orb that looks like a disco ball.

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Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

Called the Kazakhstan Pavilion, the five-story space will host all kinds of events.

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Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

Here’s what it looked like when construction crews started building it in the spring.

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Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

Toward the top of the sphere, there will be two wind turbines that will generate electricity.

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Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill Architecture

28 additional buildings will surround the sphere, including a science center, a 1,000-seat theater, galleries, educational facilities, hotels, offices, and 700 residential units.

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Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

The Astana Art Center — a grassy, sloped building next to the sphere — will take in 1,000 people per hour when the expo starts next June, according to Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture.

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Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

Source: Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture


The Art Center will house two gallery spaces for large-scale works.

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Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

The project focuses on using renewable energy, like solar and wind, to power the buildings.

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The Energy Hall.
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Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

The Energy Hall, for example, will feature high-performance glazing on its windows for better insulation as well as lighting that will dim based on the amount of natural sunlight available. Half of the roof will also be covered in solar panels.

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Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

According to the plan, 100% of the structures’ non-potable water will be recycled, and 24% of their energy consumption will be supplied by solar or wind, thanks to a central smart grid.

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Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

The design also calls for a new bus route, which will travel to a hospital, university, and airport in the city.

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Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

Even after the Expo, Astana residents will continue to work and live in the shiny, new facilities.

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Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture