Project team:

Client: DIA Holding, representing the Republic of Azerbaijan
Architects: Zaha Hadid Architects
Contractor: DIA Holding
Lighting design: MBLD – Aniket Gore, Rob Honeywill, Maurice Brill


Products applied:

Exterior: Step lighting, plaza: Cedetas
Marker lights: HRN Design
Inground luminaires: Light Projects
Custom luminaires, facade cove: Crescent Lighting
Handrail solution designed by Zaha Hadid: Zumtobel
Further manufacturers: Bega, Lumascape, Woodhouse
Interior: 3D lines of light in atrium ceiling, developed with Zumtobel
Auditorium lighting: David Morgan Associates
Handrail: Insta
Further manufacturers: Elliptipar, Erco, Lucent, Lumino, Mike Stoane, Selux, Siteco, Viabizzuno


05. Sep 2014

Formula for flowing forms

Text: Joachim Ritter

Azerbaijan as a country is undergoing massive changes in its cultural identity. The nation is developing its own identity from a mix of cultural elements based on its soviet past, Islamic religion, the gas and oil energy industry, and a new understanding of Western architecture. Baku, the capital city, is at the epicentre of this change. Exemplary modern architecture such as the Flame Towers and Baku Crystal Hall, which was completed in time for the Eurovision Song Contest in 2012, are already shaping the capital’s skyline. To that has now been added the Heydar Aliyev Center, a further example of the country’s open and forward-looking approach.

The Heydar Aliyev Center houses a museum core, a learning library and a performance theatre – all under one free flowing roof that spans more than nine acres. Located close to the city centre, the site plays a pivotal role in the redevelopment of Baku, and is intended to play an integral role in the intellectual life of the city. In 2014, the Heydar Aliyev Centre won the Design Museum’s Design of the Year Award, despite concerns about the site’s human rights record. The design of the building with its seamless curves and walls that dissolve into the ground could well be classified as “infinite architecture”. Walking past or  through the building, the continually changing views unlock the enchanting discovery of new spaces. Fluidity in architecture is not new to this region. In historic Islamic architecture, rows, grids, or sequences of columns flow to infinity like trees in a forest, establishing non-hierarchical space. Continuous calligraphic and ornamental patterns flow from carpets to walls, walls to ceilings, ceilings to domes, establishing seamless relationships and blurring distinctions between architectural elements and the ground they inhabit. The intention of Zaha Hadid, the architect, was to relate to that historical understanding of architecture by developing a firmly contemporary interpretation, reflecting a more nuanced understanding. […]


The full version of the article can be found in PLD No. 94
And our PLD magazine app (iPad App Store) contains a media-enhanced version.

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