Arman Alma-ata, kazakhstan

A project discussing Almaty's built heritage

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Before Kazakhstan became an independent country it’s former capital city Almaty went by another name-Alma-Ata, meaning the ‘Grandfather of Apple Trees’.

Celebrated as the birthplace of the apple, the idea of Alma-Ata evokes nostalgic images of a green, sun-drenched city, nestling in the foothills of the Zailiyskay Alatau Mountains, with beautiful orchards, and mountain-water rills (aryks).

Soviet architecture across the USSR was fairly unified in terms of construction and design. Never the less, there were many beautiful buildings built during this period of Soviet Modernism that also reflected the aesthetics and culture of a region and there are many good examples of this approach in Almaty. Seen in both the grand public buildings and the everyday architecture.

The unique and diverse architectural language of the region was expressed by the local architects through geometry, rhythm, detail, patterning and materials. The lack of funding for conservation has meant many of these buildings are now rapidly aging and decaying. New development has seen the demise of both the orchards and Almaty’s Soviet era architecture, but both can be considered essential to the survival of the city’s cultural heritage, identity and future prosperity.

Atomik Architecture in partnership with Bureau Address led a week long programme which aimed to initiate a debate about Almaty’s built heritage.

Design workshops and public debates were hosted by the British Council, Goethe Institute and in public places to generate ideas addressing a range of issues.

The project continues and a pavilion will be constructed in Almaty later in the year.

You can follow the project at: