LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE
People of Turkmenistan have long become accustomed to the popular phrase "architectural premieres". There are more and more such premiers every year. They take place not only in the capital city of the country but also in the regional centers. In 2018, large transport hubs were built in the city of Turkmenabat on the bank of Amu Darya river and in the city of Turkmenbashi on the Caspian Sea coast. A modern international airport and the region's largest seaport in the city of Turkmenbashi also present the original architecture that enhanced the cityscape.
The seaport deserves special mention. This is not just a complex of structurally and functionally very different facilities. This is a diversified coastal infrastructure, including ferry, passenger and container terminals. All of them were built using modern materials and technologies as part of the unique project. This architectural complex is complemented by transport facilities that organically fit into the coastal infrastructure, such as highways with overhead junctions and railways connecting the seaport with the country's land roads.
The year that passed in the country under the motto "Turkmenistan is the Heart of the Great Silk Road" marked laying the foundation for construction of new luxury hotels in Ashgabat that will complement the existing hotel infrastructure embodying the centuries-old traditions of Turkmen hospitality. For example, on President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov's instructions, another hotel complex will be erected on a hill located between "Yildyz" hotel and the State Historical and Cultural Reserve "Nisa". The patterns associating with the famous historical monuments of Turkmenistan will add special colors to its appearance. The shape of another new hotel being erected near the Ashgabat International Airport presents the outlines of golden dunes of the Karakum desert, which is the unique natural sight of the country.
Examining the projects of this or that structure, the head of state always says that any new facility should harmoniously fit into the natural landscape, and therefore he demands that contractors should take this factor into account when designing a project. The cultural and entertainment center "Gala" built in Archabil district of Ashgabat provides an example of such thoughtful approach to the terrain. The new building was erected in a picturesque gorge against the backdrop of Kopetdag mountain range. Organically blending into the surroundings, "Gala" center complemented the modern hospitality infrastructure that is being created in Ashgabat and other part of the country. Leisure and entertainment facilities are an integral part of this infrastructure. It is noteworthy that this original project was implemented by the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Turkmenistan, which is increasingly undertaking the construction of a number of large and small facilities in all regions of the country.
The resort area "Avaza" on the Caspian Sea coast is another favorite vacation spot of the citizens of Turkmenistan. In addition to the new sanatoriums, there was commissioned a water park in 2018. This is a large entertainment complex for children and adults spreading over an area of about 30 hectares. Along with indoor and outdoor water attractions it has a shopping center, a number of cafes and restaurants, an amphitheater, a hotel and artificial mountains, lakes, waterfalls, a cave labyrinth - a real fairy-tale world of adventure. There are also pools of different sizes and depths, including for surfing.
The water park's every facility radiates human warmth, efforts and labor of Turkmen builders employed by "Myradym" private company. The same contractor built the Ashgabat Golf Club that occupies more than 70 hectares in the southwestern part of the capital city, including golf fields near "Yildyz" hotel. A magnificent 18-hole golf course blends seamlessly into the natural landscape of the foothills and favorably emphasizes the beauty of new buildings of the white marble capital city that can be viewed from green lawns.
The Hezreti Omar Mosque is another major facility built by Turkmen entrepreneurs. It was inaugurated on the eve of the 27th anniversary of Turkmenistan's independence in the housing estate Parakhat-7 of Ashgabat. The total area of the site, including the mosque, surrounding buildings and a park area exceeds 13 thousand square meters. The spatial design and layout of the mosque are in line with the traditional spirit originating in medieval architecture. The main parameters of the minaret, the central and small domes, reaching as high as 63, 40 and 23 meters respectively, are deeply symbolic. Each of these numbers is associated with the name of the Prophet Muhammad, indicating his age, as well as the age when the Almighty sent down his revelations to the Prophet and the period of prophetic activity. Marble, granite and precious woods were used in finishing the interiors. The relief epigraphy featuring the Koran surahs occupies a special place in the decoration of the mosque. The central hall of the mosque can accommodate three thousand worshippers at a time.
Housing construction remains one of Turkmenistan's most important priorities. New construction projects in Ashgabat, regional centers and towns are designed to increase the range of apartments in multi-storey buildings and enrich the housing market with individual cottages. A number of buildings of various types, both monolithic and large-panel, have been either commissioned or being constructed. All of them have a common stylistic unity thanks to the main feature of modern architecture of Turkmenistan, such as white marble cladding or white facades, as well as prevalence of white color in small architectural forms, starting from street lamps to bus stops. One cannot but quote Richard Meier, one of the greatest contemporary architects of the United States: "White is an ephemeral expression of constant movement. White is always present, but it is never the same, bright and trembling - silvery in the daylight and sparkling under the full moon... White is light, a means of understanding and a transforming power."
The modernization of society in the past century has created a set of material, technical, economic and political conditions for the qualitative improvement of the standard of living and radical transformation of the entire image of the national culture that has actually lost its archaic features.
Every period presents its own style. However, the means of architectural design, building materials and construction equipment continue to develop, opening up previously unknown opportunities for builders. Knowing the potential of computer-aided design and digital software, it is easy to believe that the future of architecture around the world foreshadows much more unpredictable and rapid changes than before. We all learned it at school that architecture is an art of construction. No other art can affect to such extent the appearance of the artificial world in which we live. That is why the importance of architecture as a special discipline is likely to increase. Our descendants will certainly rank much of what is being built today among the monuments that will testify to our beautiful era.