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The most impressive pinnacle in the brand new Astana skyline is not a building but a tent. More specifically, the largest tent in the world. The 150-metre-high Khan Shatyr tent made of thermoplastic polymer keeps visitors warm and toasty, even in the harsh cold of the Kazakh winter. Visitors to this exceptional structure will find a mall and an amusement park with a monorail, all under one canvas.
British architecture firm Foster + Partners pulled out all creative stops when they were commissioned to design a ‘lifestyle centre with world-class shopping’. It seemed fitting to create a tent in a country where the nomadic population originally lived in yurts. Temperatures range from blistering hot to freezing cold so the tent canvas is composed of a special lightweight plastic that provides excellent insulation. The insulation works so well that in addition to a futuristic shopping centre, the tent also houses a tropical swimming pool.