Pyramid of Peace, Kazakhstan
Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, Astana/Nur-Sultan
A collaboration between Brian Clarke and Norman Foster, early designs for the Pyramid of Peace and Accord incorporated a stained glass ramp that climbed to its peak, but the final design has its peak, paired with a series of diamond-shaped stained glass windows at ground level, as the only transparent element of the grey granite building. A 9,700 square foot artwork in stained glass surmounts the pyramid and forms the apex of the Foster + Partners structure. The stained glass apex is visible at night as a landmark and beacon from across Nur-Sultan. The imagery of doves initially was linear, worked out through drawings in the Pyramid of Peace sketchbook, but the final design uses screenprinted images from a series of photographs of doves Brian took in Seville, rendered through his original technique of ceramic glaze-printed glass, first developed for the Mohammad Ali Centre in 1998, and first used on a large-scale in his collaboration with Norman Foster in 2000, at the Al Faisaliyah Complex in Riyadh.
"Brian Clarke has designed and produced the stained glass apex for the most striking building on the skyline of Astana, the new capital city of Kazakhstan. The steel and glass pyramid was officially inaugurated on Tuesday, 12th September 2006 by the 2nd Congress of World and Traditional Religions. Clarke's glass artwork is 900 square metres in area. It surmounts the pyramid and forms the apex of the structure, a building by architects Foster + Partners.
It is the latest in a long collaborative history between Lord Foster and Brian Clarke. The pyramid has been designed to be a global centre for religious understanding, the renunciation of violence and the promotion of faith and human equality. In keeping with these aims Brian Clarke's apex glass depicts a flock of white doves in flight set against a background field of vivid blue and gold. The composition uses artistic themes that Clarke has evolved through his work concerning the transillumination of light through naturally membranous materials such as petals, leaves and feathers. Like these materials the glass and composition manifest the same emotive beauty with stunning effect. The space directly beneath the artwork houses a circular cradle that will be a meeting chamber for international religious leaders. With vast white doves directly over their heads the delegates will inevitably be reminded of their responsibilities to harmony and world peace."