Astana’s central nucleus occupies a rectangular area whose organizational axis is based upon a system of three piazzas. In the largest of these, dominated by the Presidential Palace, the State Auditorium faces the Senate House. This auditorium – one of the largest in the world – was awarded to Studio Nicoletti as the result of an International restricted competition. Flying over the arid vastness of the steppes, we felt that what is really missing were flowers. They create an envelope which encloses an internal piazza housing shops, balconies, restaurants, exhibition halls, two cinemas and the 3500 seats Auditorium entirely clad in wood inside and outside. The vastness of the location conjures up an impression of the immensity of the territory. We decided to build the “Flower of the Steppe”. Founded in the heart of the steppes only four years after the Independence of the Country, Astana is now a decade old new capital of Kazakhstan. Amidst this monumental void, the structures of the Auditorium rise like the petals of a flower animated through music. Please visit ASTANA for more information and design.