When it comes to extreme weather, only one other capital city across the globe (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia) faces harsher winter conditions than Astana, Kazakhstan. Astana’s average annual temperature is 38 F, with long, dry, bitterly cold winters that regularly reach −22 F to −31 F between November and March. During the summer months, it’s not unusual for temperatures to soar above 90 F, making for wild seasonal temperature swings.
Astana’s extreme conditions, combined with the region’s fairly remote location, placed numerous obstacles in front of the Building Team for the Talan Towers development. This 1.36 million-sf mixed-use project brings several “firsts” to this budding capital city, including its first Class A office space and its first luxury hotel, the Astana – The Ritz-Carlton.
The development comprises a 30-story office tower and a 26-story residential and hotel tower, linked by a three-story podium containing retail outlets. Three restaurants, an events center, and a spa and fitness center round out the programming.
To ensure that the building’s façade would stand up to the harsh conditions, including average wind speeds of about 10 mph, the exterior design models were tested in wind tunnels by German wind engineering firm Wacker Ingenieure. The curtain wall façade was fitted with floor-to-ceiling, triple-glazed units engineered to keep the cold and solar heat transmission at bay, while allowing natural light to flood the interior. The interior spaces are adorned with warm materials—marble, wood, gold motif—that contrast with the cold weather outside.
Finding qualified contractors and suppliers was a major concern for the project team, since local expertise was in short supply. Turner assembled a team of mostly global consultants from diverse geographical regions—Australia, Austria, Finland, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Latvia, Serbia, South Korea, U.S., U.K., and the United Arab Emirates—who co-located in Astana for the duration of the project. Daily “war room” meetings, weekly “look-ahead” programs, and monthly workshops helped to keep the project on schedule.
As Astana’s first luxury mixed-use development, Talan Towers features interior spaces adorned with opulent materials and detailing, including custom marble and gold motif. Verny Capital / Astana Property Management.
Building Team — Submitting firm, construction manager Turner International Owners Verny Capital, Astana Property Management Architect Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Architect of record Light House Kazakhstan Interior architects CallisonRTKL UK (retail), Perkins+Will UK (offices, common areas), Richmond (hotel) MEP, structural engineer Design Grup General contractor Renaissance Construction CJSC
General Information — Size 1.36 million sf Construction cost Confidential at client’s request Construction time September 2013 to December 2017 Delivery method Design-bid-build, with CM