Gales damage peace pyramid in Kazakhstani capital

Astana’s Palace of Peace and Accord suffered obvious damage from galeforce winds. (Reuters pic)

ASTANA: Galeforce winds have punched holes in one of Astana’s best known buildings, a granite-and-glass pyramid, the Kazakhstani authorities said, warning that stormy weather could continue.

The Palace of Peace and Accord, a 62-metre high pyramid designed by British architect Lord Norman Foster, is in the heart of the city and is used for conferences and stages opera performances in its basement.

Gusts moving at up to 90 kilometres per hour also ripped the roofs off at least three buildings on Tuesday, including a school and a kindergarten, the Astana mayor’s office said in a statement. A crane toppled over.

The mayor’s office said 13 people suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the storm and warned that winds of a similar strength were expected on Wednesday.

Known for its eye-catching architecture, Astana, once a small provincial centre, became the capital of the oil-rich Central Asian nation 20 years ago, prompting a construction boom.

Among its notable buildings are a tent-shaped shopping mall and a 105-metre high tower with an observation deck inside a sphere on top, with a gilded print of the right hand of Nursultan Nazarbayev, the country’s leader since 1989.