The transformation of modern architecture in Kazakhstan: From Soviet “Internationalism” to post-Soviet understanding of the regional identity

Keywords: transformation, avant-garde architecture, Kazakhstan, regional identity


After the collapse of the USSR at the end of the 20th century, the Soviet republics, including Kazakhstan, that had been previously united within one country became independent countries and went through decades of reforms to establish new social, political and economic frameworks and revive their own cultural traditions. The transition from the stateplanned Soviet-era economy to the market economy was accompanied by dramatic changes in all aspects of life – in the economy, science and culture. The Soviet architecture in Kazakhstan met the contemporary requirements of its time: all settlements were developed according to approved master plans, and design and construction were carried out by large state companies with powerful technical potential. 30 years of post-Soviet life have gone by since 1991, and Kazakhstan has gone through some transformation in its architecture; it is now searching for methods of expressing a unique "Kazakh" architectural language with its own particular regional characteristics seen in: arches, domes, ornamental motifs of decorative design.
The purpose of the study is to analyse the transformation that the architecture in Kazakhstan has undergone so far in the 21st century using the example of public buildings, and to identify the factors forming new features of architecture. Realizing the dependencies of Kazakhstan’s architectural transformation on the new social and economic conditions will help architects strengthen the regional identity in the architecture through the symbiosis of traditional local experience and new global technologies.


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Review Paper - Third Part