Architect: Manfredi Nicoletti and Luca Nicoletti

This auditorium - one of the largest in the world - was awarded to Studio Nicoletti.Founded in the heart of the steppes only four years after the Independence of the Country, Astana is now a decade old new capital of Kazakhstan.

Founded in the heart of the steppes only four years after the Independence of the Country, Astana is now a decade old new capital of Kazakhstan. Astana's central nucleus occupies a rectangular area whose organizational axis is based upon a system of three piazzas. In the largest of these, dominated by the Presidential Palace, the State Auditorium faces the Senate House. The vastness of the location conjures up an impression of the immensity of the territory. Flying over the arid vastness of the steppes, we felt that what is really missing were flowers.We decided to build the "Flower of the Steppe".

Amidst this monumental void, the structures of the Auditorium rise like the petals of a flower animated through music. They create an envelope which encloses an internal piazza housing shops, balconies, restaurants, exhibition halls, two cinemas and the 3500 seats Auditorium entirely clad in wood inside and outside. Its shape is similar to a "Dombra" the typical Kazak instrument. Such internal multi-levelled piazza integrates with Astana's system of public squares, while providing a space protected from the harsh local climate: a temperature range from -40 to +40 and salty winds. The Auditorium interior space is also reflecting its suspended wood panelled ceiling like following a "whirling" motion, form a cavity above the orchestra to regulate acoustic absorption. To resist against the eroding effect of the salty winds coming from the steppe, the slanted surfaces of the outdoor sails are clad with glass panels reflecting the overchanging environment.

The Taiwan Center for Disease Control’s BioLab conceals a dangerous riddle within its outer skin. Usually only visible to the naked eye, the structure of the outer skin is laced with geometric patterns that represent the four symbols of the DNA sequence of the dangerous bacteria being studied within. If you’re not in awe of the structure itself, you may catch on to the message that Taiwan is trying to deliver: “Epidemic prevention is a war that we intend to win”.

The Biolab Squadron consists of labs sealed within two similar elements evoking Nautilus shells.The two shells, forming the Biolab Squadron, are a metaphoric example of the highest formal and technological sophistication of the most advanced laboratories conceived and the extremely harmful pathogenic viruses of our planet which are studied within themselves

The Biolab Squadron outer skin pattern is made of interlacing geometric incisions reproducing the four conventional symbols attributed to the DNA sequence of the bacteria being studied. The result is a surface perfectly homogenous and uniform in its overall material, but mysteriously engraved by symbols illegible by most people.

The project was jointly tendered by Manfredi Nicoletti and ARCO Architects & Designers receiving an honourable mention from the jury. The winning design was by Ricky Liu & Associates with CUHZA Inc.