ASTANA ARENA Astana, Kazakhstan, 2006-2009 Sporting Symbol Intended to be a symbol of the burgeoning new capital of Kazakhstan, the Astana Arena has a spectacular elliptical form and a retractable roof that can be closed in harsh winter weather conditions to protect the players, the spectators and the playing surface. Located on the highway connecting the airport to the city the stadium is principally designed as a venue for soccer but it can be adapted for other sports events including the country’s favourite sports – wrestling, judo and boxing. The venue has quickly become a landmark in the city. The stadium, designed on an elliptic form, is constructed on a 232,485 m² (330m x 704.5m) rectangular site. The design introduces innovative solutions adopting high technology principles for operational management, interaction with the environment and especially with harsh climatic conditions of the geography. The 30,000 seating capacity Arena is as a large amphitheatre with a two-tiered structure, lower terrace, accommodating 16,000 seats, encircles the playing area while the upper stand on the east and west sides seats 14,000 spectators. All spectators are seated and have a clear sight line with an unobstructed view of the field of play. The playing surface is covered in high quality grass surface specified to meet FIFA and UEFA criteria. Each spectator’s platform has its separate stairways; the vertical scale of the facility, the positioning and the height of vertical transportation provide easier access to the roads around the stadium. The circulation is maintained by platforms on 5.50 level. Six separate zones take place behind the different levels of the stand areas; a spacious ambulatory runs around the stands linking to a concourse that contains food kiosks, restaurants and restrooms and 24 portals around the Arena ensure that the crowd are able to disperse swiftly after an event. The sliding roof is an integral part of the structure of the stadium. When it is closed, it converts the stadium into a covered arena; whether closed or open, the roof is an elementary part of the whole. The elliptical geometry reveals itself on the weatherproof roof shell. Two deep steel trusses run in an east-west direction carrying the main roof structure and also bear the weight of the sliding roof components. When weather conditions deteriorate the two moving parts are activated and slide over the cantilevered main roof elements, to meet above the centre of the bowl. Polycarbonate panels in the retractable roof ensure natural light inside, the membrane material resists deformation and have sound absorption. In the process sport has developed as the major global culture extending its reach to embrace all people regardless of religion, race or colour. Astana Arena, a powerful expression of this new global imperative, constitutes a charming urban landscape and become a new scene in Astana tallying with the synergy of sports, games, hospitality, nature and contemporary architecture.