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Foster's Peace Pyramid completed - images

Foster and Partners' ambitious Palace of Peace and Acoord has been completed in Astana, Kazakhstan.

The 62 metre-high pyramid is hoped by Foster to be a global centre for religious understanding, the renunciation of violence and the promotion of faith and human equality.

Designed and realised in less than two years, the building is on a prominent site in the nation's capital, occupying a place on the axial route from the Presidential Palace.

Visitors to the new building will not only be able to find spiritual enlightenment, but will also be able to enjoy a night at the opera, thanks to a 1,500-seat opera house. It is set to be a heady mix of religion and entertainment.

Clad in a lattice of stainless steel with pale grey granite triangular inserts, the pyramid has an apex of stained glass by the artist Brian Clarke.

The building also houses a permanent venue for the congress, which is in an elevated position at the top, dubbed 'the hands of peace'.

The design also includes a public meeting space and a university faculty, along with a national spiritual centre.

It has been hailed as one of Foster's most ambitious projects to date, and took just 21 months from briefing to completion .

by Richard Vaughan

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