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SKIING ABOVE YOUR OWN APARTMENT

ski3Kazakh architect, Shokhan Mataibekov defies architectural conventions by mounting a ski slope on ski2the rooftop of an apartment block in Kazakhstan’s capital city of Astana, allowing residents to descend from the roof of their own homes to the sidewalks.

Words by Isabelle Pinto

Photography by Shokhan Mataibekov Architects

In many cities of the world today, luxury high-rise living has become quite common with luxury apartment and condominium projects continuously sprouting up. Built to pamper the elite class in our society, these high-class residential units boast various comfort and recreational facilities such as the usual swimming pools and Jacuzzis, outdoor bars by the pool, garden terraces, comprehensively-equipped gym facilities and so on. However, with a continuous demand for these residential units, architects and developers are constantly pushed to think out of the box so as to come up with that “plus-factor” which would make their project stand out from the rest.

Living up to this pursuit, a rather ambitious Kazakh architect, Shokhan Mataibekov- CEO of the Mataibekov Architects – has proposed designs for a high-rise residential building that comes with a ski slope on its rooftop. Now, isn’t that marvellous![ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”1,2,3,4,5″ ihc_mb_template=”1″ ]

skiWith a length of 326 metres (1, 000 feet), the slope would start from atop the 21st floor of the apartment block-its highest floor-as it gradually descends in a U-shaped curve following the descending flow of the units in the building. The project, which goes by the name of Slalom House, has been rightfully planned for the city of Astana -the capital of Kazakhstan- that is known for its extremely cold temperatures during winter which can reach as low as minus 40 degrees Celsius.

Faster skiing turnaround

Despite the country’s cold climate with snow for up to 6 months a year, there are strangely very few places around Astana where avid skiers and snowboarders can go to practise their skills. In fact, the nearest ski slopes are a long four hours’ drive away. The lack of skiing facilities within Astana is also astonishing considering the fact that it has a young and dynamic population who are known to have a keen interest in winter sports.

ski4Looking at the situation at hand, Mataibekov saw an opportunity-a chance not only to serve the residents of Astana by providing them with an easily accessible ski facility within the city but also to create a marvellously unique architectural innovation by mounting the track on top of an apartment block. If the project does get the green light and materializes in future, it would become the first apartment building in the world with a ski slope as its roof. “The slalom track will make this building a unique landmark for the city and can attract tourists and riders from all over the world,” Mataibekov enthuses.

Building the ski slope on top of an apartment building is also cost-efficient as it uses elevators which are much cheaper than a cable way or surface lifts. The main costs would go to the building of the track cover and elevators. As for the snow coating, natural snow can be utilised during wintertime which lasts from four to six months. Come summer, an artificial form of snow called “SnowFlex” would be used. It is said to provide similar riding experiences to using natural snow. This allows the ski facility to be available for use all-year-round without any climate restrictions.

“It’s unlike most conventional ski resorts that are available for riders only during three to four winter months,” says the architect when comparing with ski resorts. Furthermore, the ski track can also be used at night when it would be illuminated for the riders. The sight of an illuminated ski slope atop an apartment block would also definitely be an attractive night scene to behold in the city. Although the track is admittedly a relatively short one, riders need not fret as this drawback would be compensated with the use of speedy elevators. “By cableway, it would take around 2-3 minutes to reach the top but the elevator takes you there in only 48 seconds,” explains Mataibekov, an avid skier himself.

With a total cost of roughly USD70 million, Slalom House would also be housed with food outlets and retail spaces. Its unique and cutting-edge design earned it a spot as finalist in the Residential Future Projects category at the World Architecture Festival (WAF) in Singapore last year. The latest news is that several developers are in talks with Mataibekov to build the one-of-a-kind apartment facility.[/ihc-hide-content]

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