in kazakhstan, the world’s largest tent

And we’re not talking about Evgeny Korolev‘s pants. The draw ceremony for weekend’s Davis Cup World Group Play-off tie between Kazakhstan and Switzerland was held at the Norman Foster-designed Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center in Astana. The structure, which opened this past July, is the world’s largest tent. (Read: HuffPo’s write-up.) The matches will be played in the National Tennis Center, also located in that city.

Draw: See the country line-ups here. (Marco Chiudinelli is playing!)

(photo by Sergei Kivrin via daviscup.org)

okay, dubai, you can take a rest

You’ve probably heard about all the cool structures erected in Beijing in time for the Olympics — including the bird’s nest-esque National Stadium by Herzog & de Meuron, PTW’s water cube aquatic center, the single-roofed Norman Foster-designed international airport, and the new CCTV building (innards here) — but you probably haven’t heard what they’ve given us tennis folks.

We get a yawner of a flower.

Unlike the peony-style stadium in Shanghai, this stadium has three main courts (out of 10) with a flower petal design, with the spectators at a steep angle on each of the 12 petals to give them maximum viewing space. They also create a natural ventilation system that reduces the court temp by 5 degrees Celsius.

The main court holds 10,000 people, while Number One court seats 4,000, and Number Two court 2,000. There are another 1,400 spectator seats that overlook the other seven preliminary competition courts.

All of the courts’ water will be recycled by treating it through membrane biological reactors to remove contaminants. The treated water will then be used to water the tennis center’s foliage.

Fit for kings: After much hemming and hawing by the Western world, it’s been reported that the squat-style toilets in most of the Olympic venues will be replaced by sit-down thrones. Bless.

Show Court No. 2

(stadium info via CBC; photos via TW)