The most critical phase in the construction of the Khan Shatyr Entertainment Centre in Kazhakstan was successfully completed yesterday with the erection of its 150 metre-high tripod mast. The 2,000 tonne structure was lifted into place by four cranes in a process that took two weeks.

Designed by Foster + Partners, Sembol Construction's project is an investment of real estate firm, COALCO. It is intended to provide a new civic focus for Astana and is situated at the northern end of the new city axis. The structure rises from a 200 metre diameter elliptical base and its massive volume will provide a sheltered environment and contain an urban-scale internal park, shops, cafes, as well as a wide variety of entertainment amenities, including a spa, sports centre and an indoor beach.

The vast tent-like cable net structure is clad in ETFE, allowing light to wash the interior spaces while sheltering them from extreme weather conditions. At the core of the building is a large flexible space that will form the cultural hub of the centre, accommodating a varied programme of events and exhibitions. The remaining phases are due to complete by July 2009.

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