Arriving back from a successful trip from Mongolia, Graham and Tanja returned with on-site progress updates, a dose of Mongolian culture and some exciting opportunities for some upcoming Mongolian projects. The outward flight to Mongolia involved a stop off at Istanbul’s impressive newly opened airport, a staggering new piece of infrastructure that is set to become the world’s largest airport by 2027, transferring 200million passengers annually. Architecturally, the design fuses elements of Istanbul’s rich historical culture with modern design over an expansive 1.2million sqft site and it was a great chance to experience some world-leading airport architecture.
Graham and Tanja arrived at the tail end of the Naadam celebrations, the largest annual holiday in Mongolia which celebrates the three traditional sports of men, horse riding, archery, and wrestling, amongst a host of other cultural and historical festivities. As the festival had come to an end, the city felt fairly laid back and quiet, with many Mongolians travelling out of the city centre for the celebrations.
Consequentially, they had the opportunity to recover from two days journey and jet-long as well as spending some time exploring the sites! Visits were made to the Choijin Lama Temple on Sunday, a Buddhist monastery that is situated just north of the Shangri-La building. The temple was built between 1904 and 1908 and is formed of one main temple and five branch temples to form one of the major cultural and historical sites in Ulaanbaatar. The temple was active until 1937, however, it was briefly closed under Communist repression before being re-opened as a Buddhist place of worship in 1938. The temple faces south to another of the sites which were visited, the Blue Sky building. This building forms another prominent part of Mongolia’s architectural landscape and stands out among other designs due to its half-moon shape, which has given it a landmark status of the city.
After some exploration of Mongolian culture, Tanja and Graham continued with work on-site at our current project in Ulaanbaatar. Multiple visits were made to continue managing the design and assist with any queries by coordinating with the team in Mongolia working on-site. Overall, the progress of the fit-out is encouraging and the project is set for on-time completion.
During the trip, Tanja and Graham also had a chance to meet with some old colleagues and friends, including one of the Mongolian architects, Boldkhuyag Narmandakh who worked on our Tugulduur Shopping Centre project! Through reconnecting with these contacts, Tanja and Graham were able to discuss the possibilities of future bid work and hopefully, we should be engaging with some exciting upcoming projects to further our architectural presence in Mongolia!