By  on August 28, 2009

Kazakhstan has been inhabited since the Stone Age, but these days the skyline of its capital city, Astana, is considerably more Space Age.

Bjarke Ingels’ BIG Architects is the latest marquee name to have the chance to leave its mark on the city. One of five architectural firms invited to compete in a design competition, the agency beat Lord Norman Foster and Zaha Hadid, among 16 others, to earn the right to create the country’s first national library. The 300,000-square-foot futuristic circular building is expected to be wrapped up by the end of 2012 and will be named for president Nursultan Nazarbayev, who is credited with attracting big-name architects to dress up the country’s buildings. He also commissioned the library, which will house his administration’s archives, among other things. But residents and visitors will no doubt be drawn in by the unusual, circular, latticelike structure.

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