Info Shymkent - The Abu Dhabi Plaza complex in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan in 2021

Skyscraper Day 2021 – Focus on Abu Dhabi Plaza

Today is Skyscraper Day. It is a great day to have a closer look on Kazakhstan’s highest building – the Abu Dhabi Plaza.

The Skyscrapers Day is celebrated every year on 3rd September and marks the birthday of American architect Louis H. Sullivan. He is often called the father of modern skyscrapers.

To honor Louis H. Sullivan’s heritage we want to have a look on his birthday on the tallest skyscraper of Kazakhstan: The Abu Dhabi Plaza.

Already in the mid-2000s the plan was made to build a tall skyscraper in the center of Kazakhstan’s new capital Astana (now: Nur-Sultan). The building should be a real skyscraper. That means it should be over 300 meters or 1000 feet high.

An expert for skyscraper construction are the United Arab Emirates (UAE). And also in this time in Dubai was beside more than other 100 skyscrapers the tallest building in the world – the Burj Khalifa – under construction. And another point was that UAE and Kazakhstan have a deep friendship. So the first president of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev gifted the future construction site to Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed, president of the United Arab Emirates on 1st November 2007. The world famous architect Sir Norman Foster and his partners designed the building. It was a design of multiple small towers formed out of boxes – it looked a little bit like a building fallen out of the Minecraft world.

Info Shymkent - View to the construction site of Abu Dhabi Plaza in Astana in 2017
View to the construction site of Abu Dhabi Plaza in Astana in 2017.

But it took another two years that the dream was formed into a contract. On 11th June 2009 Kazakhstan and the UAE signed a agreement to build a mixed-use development complex with a skyscraper as a centerpiece in the heart of Astana. Aldar from the UAE was selected as the developer. Just two months later the Kazakhstan’s president of Nazarbayev put a silver capsule into the cornerstone on the location of the future Abu Dhabi Plaza.

The excavation work for the whole Abu Dhabi Plaza went slow because of financial problems and hard winters but was finished in summer 2012. Also the foundation of the main skyscraper was already completed in this time. But at the end of 2013 Aldar changed the outstanding design to a less cost and simpler version. Now the Abu Dhabi Plaza complex design consisted of four mid-rise buildings and a 88 floor skyscraper. All buildings would be connected via a huge shopping mall and a four-floor car park in the basement.

Info Shymkent - View to Abu Dhabi Plaza in Nur-Sultan in 2021
View from a flower-bed near Baiterek Tower to Abu Dhabi Plaza in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan in 2021

In summer 2014 the work on construction site was in full swing and the skyscraper reached the street level. But another setback happend on 13th February 2016: a fire broke out at the construction site of the main skyscraper. The form-work and some main steal elements were destroyed. But in 2017 the tower was growing again – and at the beginning of 2018 the construction work on the tower reached with around 160 meters half of the planned height.

Finally, on 2nd December 2019 the shopping mall with shops and restaurants on two floors opened its doors. The 5-star Sheraton Hotel opened for business just three months later on March 16th 2020. The same year the first companies could move into the two twenty-nine and twenty-eight floor office towers. The fifteen floor high apartment tower received it’s first residents at the end of the year 2020. The year 2020 was also a important year for the now to 75 floor shorten skyscraper. It topped out at a height of 310.80 meters in October 2020.

Info Shymkent - Last work on the top of Abu Dhabi Plaza in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan in 2021
Last work on the top of Abu Dhabi Plaza in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan in 2021.

Now in September 2021 the project is close to completion. The last cladding elements along the long facade are set into position and the last construction work on the top of the skyscraper is in the making. The Foster + Partners design was outstanding – but also the final design is a great and beautiful addition to Nur-Sultan’s skyline. We hope to see more skyscrapers rising from the Kazakh steppe into the blue sky over Kazakhstan. Maybe we can report about a new skyscraper project on the next Skyscraper day.

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