Astana National Pantheon Geometry Study

DSC Group's entry for the Kazakhtan National Pantheon competition intends to create a unique space of worship to the deceased having respect to the nation's many different traditions as the main goal. The project is developed from the elements that combine the different religions in a common place, the Pantheon, which becomes the core element of the project. On the other hand, the circle is also present in the symbol of Kazakhstan, both the flag and the shield, which makes it a referential symbol.

Tradition

Traditional Kazakh burials consisted of small mounds. The body was deposited in a circular pit and finally covered with stones and earth, creating small hills along the landscape. This type of funeral rituals has been repeated in different cultures and  parts of the world. In fact, these burials became a common cult activity throughout history.

Main model

Geometry and the cycle of life

The cycle of life combines together birth, life and death in a single, closed, never ending curve.This curve and its meaning is present in many cultures and religions of the world, all of which are represented in the project proposal. Circular shapes have always been related to life, death and eternity. The circle represents the continuity, perfection, divinity, day and night, life and death, the equal and opposite... Dsc Group's idea is based on reflecting all these concepts within a single compositional element.

 General Plan

 

 

Astana Interior Plan

DSC Group's project proposes a continuation of the Kazakh tradition of burials in barrows generating artificial hills in the plains of the local landscape. Thus, the Vorodome is buried and generates a new landscape, under which the building stands. The outside grows by showing domes made with lightweight, transparent plastic, durable and recyclable materials (ETFE domes) and steel structures. Visitors can walk on the new topography built by the domes, which keep the landscape obstacle-free for the viewer. Thus, the project links to tradition, revisited from the point of view of modernity.

With the idea of establishing a single space, an attraction for visitors and following a concept of traditional burial, DSC Group decided to create an artificial topography, a new landscape that includes all the uses required for the correct operation of the building complex, in a homogeneous redevelopment of the Kabanbai Batyr memorial and the new burial spaces. 

All concepts are presented together in a single element which is based on metaballs linking each of the religions in Kazakhstan with a central, common prayer area, the great Pantheon, a 40 meter in diameter space where a spiral ramp connects the lower space (water + earth) with the upper one (sky + eternity), both representing the close relationship between birth and death.

Interior2

Model making

Besides general project support, archiologics was hired to develop a parametric tool to build the 3d model. Due to the complexity of the dome geometry -a 3d voronoi, it was necessary to create a specific tool that would not only articulate the structural and void parts of the domes, but also automate the 3d-printing process to the maximum. A grasshopper parametric model was designed in order to accomodate all 14 different spheres, which allowed the process to speed up. In fact, the parametric logic was crucial to design feasibility, and a key tool to make model-making proper and successful. 

Model making processIndeed, the model includes various 3d printed pieces, including 14 different dome shells, and EFTE-mimicring parts. It was necessary to build 28 mock-ups, which served not only as such, but also as the negative forms of the final domes. The whole process took 9 days to complete -including numerous iterations and material tryouts, which would have been unthinkable without an algorithmic-based approach. 

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