Expo 2017 Competition

The World Expo 2017 in Kazakhstan has announced its 45 architectural finalists.

Among them, see above: Safdie Architects (U.S.) propose an eco-city comprised of a snaking glass landmass, a central dome, and a series of staggered, ziggurat-like tower spikes. As expected, pretty much everything is covered in green.

Expo 2017 Competition

The finalists include many of the world's top architectural firms, including Zaha Hadid and UNStudio.

Above: German firm J. Mayer H.'s balloon-filled design calls for a complex of low-lying undulating buildings topped with meshed roof structures. A wonky, amorphous tower rises from the center of it all. It's like a giant, really expensive, geopolitical jungle gym.

Expo 2017 Competition

All of the proposals play with a huge city block in Astana, Kazakhstan's capital city. Emphasis on the play.

Above: Zaha Hadid Architects (U.K.) phone in this dense collection of lozenges. A series of closely packed towers (public art?) is not exactly groundbreaking design.

Expo 2017 Competition

Lesser known but talented firms, like China's Studio Pei-Zhu, offered up visually stunning, if similarly over-the-top, ideas. Studio Pei-Zhu envisions a whorling glass-covered hill with hanging gardens in its center.

Expo 2017 Competition

Of-the-moment Norwegian firm Snøhetta turned in this matte city, a giant green park out of which are carved strips of building. An angular central structure is buried beneath an artificial hill.

Expo 2017 Competition

It's difficult to see what exactly is going on in this entry by Serie Architects (U.K.), aside from the massive lattice structure that ostensibly functions as a giant billboard for the Expo.

Note: Points for keeping the green-lawning to a minimum, but deductions for the rendering trope of fireworks.

Expo 2017 Competition

UNStudio (Netherlands) concoct this quasi-urban collection of wavy glass towers, which will probably be filled with "mixed-use, luxury housing" post-Expo. Again, points off for cheesiness in the rendering, this time in the form of doves.

Expo 2017 Competition

This crepuscular offering by German architects Coop Himmelb(l)au bookends a massive landscape park with ridiculously carefree towers. On one end (above), you have a vague hyperboloid structure, which, it seems, doesn't warrant night lighting. At the opposite end...

Expo 2017 Competition

...you have this cluster of animated towers that sway.

Expo 2017 Competition

This spaceship was designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (U.S.), complete with an orb-like control center.

Expo 2017 Competition

Mecanoo (Netherlands) wants to build a giant anthill in the heart of Astana. The architecture, if you can see it, is entombed in this artificial landmass, which is anchored by what seems to be a TV/telecommunications tower.


Which Architect Will Win The 2017 World Expo?

Presenting 45 finalists in an architectural competition for Kazakhstan, in case it needs an orb, or perhaps doves.

Often you’re not quite sure whether to admire or laugh at architectural renderings. When looking at somewhat make-believe, cinematic, sun-soaked and computer-generated designs, there’s a fine line between the sublime and the ridiculous. Judging from the fresh batch of proposals for the 2017 World Expo in Astana, Kazakhstan, it’s safe to say that many of the fantastical feats of architecture are...at least amusing.

The competition, launched earlier this year, compelled international architects to submit designs for what will be the Expo’s central complex. It will have to host more than 100 exhibition pavilions as well as 3 million visitors. In addition, according to the call for submissions, the winning design must be iconic and reflect the Expo theme of "green economy." According to the country’s president Nursultan Nazarbayev, this calls for architecture that integrates alternative energy and autonomous heat and water systems.

Firms from more than 20 countries submitted 100 proposals. Now, 45 of them have been shortlisted and are in the running for the top commission and a $150,000 prize.

Plenty of the familiar names made the final cut: Zaha Hadid, Moshe Safdie, Coop Himmelb(l)au, whose designs depict all manner of twisting, scrunching, bobbing shapes, greened over with grass and festooned with fireworks and balloons. Hadid’s cluster of origami-like blocks is crowned by a vaguely symbolic tower, while Safdie Architects propose a sprawling eco-city of staggered spikes and a giant glass dome.

Projects from architects with less name recognition, like Studio Pei-Zhu and Mecanoo, give the starchitects a run for their money in the category of zaniest vision. Mecanoo opted to bury the expo center in an artificial mound, adding a new contour to the city. Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture’s design resembles a grounded spaceship, with a central orb presumably housing a grand atrium space.

The winner will be announced next month. See more of the finalists in the slide show up top.

via Bustler

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