flame towers by HOK illuminate baku's historic waterfront
flame towers by HOK illuminate baku's historic waterfront flame towers by HOK illuminate baku's historic waterfront
jan 24, 2014

flame towers by HOK illuminate baku's historic waterfront

flame towers by HOK illuminate baku’s historic waterfront
photo by farid khayrulin
all images courtesy of HOK




positioned on a hill overlooking the waterfront, ‘baku flame towers’ is a mixed-use development which forms a prominent part of the city’s expanding skyline. HOK‘s design brings together three individual flame-shaped towers which reference baku’s history of fire worshiping. all three of the 140 meter structures offer impressive views across the azerbaijani capital and out over the caspian sea.

HOK baku flame towers designboom
the design brings together three individually flame-shaped towers
photo by farid khayrulin




set in a triangular formation, each edifice contains a specific function. the tallest residential tower sits at the southern edge of the site, accommodating 130 residential units across 39 floors. a hotel is sited on the northern corner of the plot with 250 rooms and 61 serviced apartments set over 33 floors, while to the west, the third tower provides grade A commercial office space.

HOK baku flame towers designboom
the shape of the structures reference the city’s history of fire worshiping
photo by farid khayrulin




anchoring the scheme, a three level retail podium presents leisure and commercial facilities, servicing both residents and visitors. this central atrium includes boutique shops, restaurants and a cinema complex. openings between the buildings frame views of the city, drawing activity inside the design and creating a fluid boundary between internal and external space.

HOK baku flame towers designboom
the towers offer impressive views across the caspian sea
photo by farid khayrulin




‘our aim was for the bold form of the towers to create a unique focal point on baku’s skyline and we were keen to that dynamic vocabulary into the interior spaces. by creating a fluid boundary between the interior space of the pavilions and the exterior context, the retail and leisure spaces would serve as a natural connection between the towers and their different uses. linking the scheme to its surroundings and thus reinforcing the existing urban context was considered critical from the earliest stages of the design process’, commented barry hughes of HOK.

HOK baku flame towers designboom
the development is visible from many different areas of the city
photo by farid khayrulin

HOK baku flame towers designboom
openings between the buildings frame views of the city, drawing activity inside
photo by farid khayrulin

HOK baku flame towers designboom
a sectional drawing highlighting the three level retail podium
image © HOK

HOK baku flame towers designboom
drawing indicating the provision and location of programs within the design
image © HOK



project info:


location: baku, azerbaijan
size: 2.5 million sqf / 234,500 sqm
awards: MIPIM – best hotel and tourism resort

  • This saddens me. It really, really saddens me. The designer had the history of Zoroastrianism, fire temples, the typology of them, etc. to work from and an opportunity to develop an understandinging of that culture. Out of that I would guess that a design concept with a bit more richness than this superficial idea of flames could have been developed. This should be added to Learning From Las Vegas as an appendix.

    struere says:
  • Glad that I don’t live across the street from the light show.

    Ron Smith says:
  • I do live within view of the Towers. While they were exciting for the first few weeks it has gotten old. A nice carnival show would have been appropriate; it would eventually leave town. The towers view from the Old City is like seeing a spaceship that landed just outside the walls. There are very few vantage points all three towers can be seen from. Mostly you get just one or sometimes two towers in the frame. Big contrast for the Baku skyline. Similar to the London “Gherkin”, the Baku towers also have a moniker: “Bunny Ears”. When you only see two at a time….that’s what it looks like.

    Jerry Holmes says:

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