Being one of the future cornerstones of Kazakh nation building, and a leading institution representing the Kazakh national identity, designing the library went beyond a mere architectural challenge.
The archive is organized as a circular loop of knowledge, surrounded by light and air on both sides. On the periphery a 360 degree panorama of Astana – at the heart of the building a contemplative courtyard domed by the heavenly light blue of the celestial vault.
The simplicity and perfection of the infinite circle allows for a crystal clear and intuitive orientation in the vast and growing collection that will populate the shelves of the National Library.
|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.|
The ideal addition to the perfect circle will be a series of public programs that simultaneously wraps the library on the outside as well as the inside, above as well as below. Twisting the public program into a continuous spiraling path tracing the library on all sides, creates an architectural organization that combines the virtues of all 4 complimenting models.
Like a Möbius strip, the public programs move seamlessly from the inside to the outside and from ground to the sky providing spectacular views of the surrounding landscape and growing city skyline.
The two interlocking structures: the perfect circle and the public spiral, create a building that transforms from a horizontal organization where library museum and support functions are placed next to each other, to a vertical organization where they are stacked on top of each other through a diagonal organization combining vertical hierarchy, horizontal connectivity and diagonal view lines. By wrapping the transforming composition of spaces with a continuous skin we create a Möbius strip volume where the facades move from inside to outside and back again.
The Library is conceived as a symbiosis of urbanity and nature. Like Astana, which is located in the heart of the Kazakh mainland, it will be integrated into the heart of a recreated Kazakh landscape. The park around the library is designed like a living library of trees, plants, minerals and rocks allowing visitors to experience a cross section of Kazakhstan’s natural landscape, and personally experience the capital’s transition across the country from Almaty to Astana.