new images of heydar aliyev center by zaha hadid

in 2007, zaha hadid architects won a competition to develop the ‘heydar aliyev center‘ in the city of baku, azerbaijan, which would stand as the country’s primary building for hosting the former soviet nation’s cultural programs.

 

in realizing the majestic structure, zaha hadid has employed a sinuous geometry throughout the entirety of the design that sets it apart from the typically rigid and monumental soviet architecture that already defines baku. historically, islamic architecture consists of a composition of rows, grids or sequences of columns that collectively form a non-hierarchal space; while calligraphic and ornamental patterns flow from carpets and walls to ceilings to domes, establishing a seamless relationship between structural elements and the environment in which they are placed. it was the firm’s intention to take this understanding of architecture, and develop it not through mimicry or a limiting adherence to the iconography of the past, but as a contemporary interpretation of these points.

new images of heydar aliyev center by zaha hadid
approach from the public plaza that is accessible to all
photo by hufton + crow (main photo by iwan baan)

 

 

this is expressed through the introduction of a terraced landscape that has blended the site’s previously distinct zones–a topographic sheer drop formally split it in two–establishing alternative links between the building and its connecting programs including the approach via the main public plaza and underground parking, successfully converting what was initially a disadvantage, into a key design feature

new images of heydar aliyev center by zaha hadid
the architectural skin extends from the plaza enveloping the interior
photo by iwan baan

 

 

elaborating on this idea of creating a fluid relationship, the expansive outdoor piazza is accessible to all aspects of baku’s urban fabric, and rises from the ground enhanced by bifurcations, folds, undulations and inflections that modify its planar surface into a landscape that serves many functions: welcoming, embracing and directing visitors inwards; thus blurring the differentiation between architectural object and urban topography.

new images of heydar aliyev center by zaha hadid
a terraced landscape levels out the previously divided site
photo by iwan baan

 

 

 

in wanting to make the ‘heydar aliyev center’ appear as if it was emerging out of its surrounding public plaza uninterrupted, zaha hadid has sited the architectural development of the building’s skin as being one of the most critical, and also most challenging elements in the establishment of the scheme. a broad range of different functions, construction logistics and technical systems, in addition to advanced computing, were integrated into the building’s envelope used to achieve a surface that appears homogeneous; achieved through the installment of glass fiber reinforced concrete and glass fibre reinforced polyester panels. their integration responds to the functional demands related to the plaza, transitional zones and envelop, while projecting the design as having powerful plasticity.

new images of heydar aliyev center by zaha hadid
illuminated by night
photo by hufton + crow

new images of heydar aliyev center by zaha hadid
undulations and folds make the building seem as if it is emerging from its surrounding plaza
photo by hufton + crow

new images of heydar aliyev center by zaha hadid
interior theater
photo by hufton + crow

new images of heydar aliyev center by zaha hadid
lobby
photo by hufton + crow

 

 

a concrete structure, combined with a space frame system has allowed the architects to achieve an interior that is composed of large-scale column-free spaces, whereby the vertical structural elements are hidden within the envelope and curtain wall system.

new images of heydar aliyev center by zaha hadid
the sloping architecture is continued internally
photo by hufton + crow

new images of heydar aliyev center by zaha hadid
the interior is filled with column-free spaces
photo by iwan baan

 

 

 

to emphasize the continuous relationship between the structure’s exterior and interior, the lighting of ‘heydar aliyev center’ has been carefully considered so that the reading of the building differs during the day, than at night. during daylight hours, the brilliance of the sun bounces off the volume, changing its appearance. semi-reflective glass offers views within, generating curiosity to outsiders without revealing the fluid trajectory of spaces inside. by evening, the entirety of its character is transformed, with inner illuminated areas washing outwards over the exterior surfaces, maintaining fluidity.

new images of heydar aliyev center by zaha hadid
strip lighting has been installed to highlight the sinuous lines of the interior
photo by iwan baan

new images of heydar aliyev center by zaha hadid
photo by iwan baan

new images of heydar aliyev center by zaha hadid
photo by iwan baan

new images of heydar aliyev center by zaha hadid
profile
photo by hufton + crow

new images of heydar aliyev center by zaha hadid
photo by hufton + crow

new images of heydar aliyev center by zaha hadid
view from the street
photo by hufton + crow

new images of heydar aliyev center by zaha hadid
general view of the site and its terraced landscape
photo by hufton + crow

new images of heydar aliyev center by zaha hadid
the fluid lines of the ‘heydar aliyev center’ stand out amongst the more rigid soviet architecture
photo by iwan baan

new images of heydar aliyev center by zaha hadid
full view of ‘heydar aliyev center’ by night
photo by hufton + crow

 

 

in its completion, the ‘heydar aliyev center’ stands as a new landmark for the city, that while still being distinct in its own right, culturally reaches out and articulates its relationship to its embedded context, representing the bright future of azerbaijan’s capital.

 

 

animated fly through of zaha hadid’s ‘heydar aliyev center’
video courtesy of zaha hadid