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  • Writer's picturechaithanya ganesh

Heyder Aliyev Center, Baku.


Heyder Aliyev Center- "The incredibly ambitious project of Azerbaijan," says Ar Zaha Hadid.


Name :Heyder Aliyev Centre

Location: Baku, Azerbaijan

Year: 2013

Area: 101801 m²

Architect: Ar Zaha Hadid


Since the independence of Azerbaijan from the Soviet Union in 1991, Azerbaijan has invested heavily in modernizing and developing Baku's infrastructure and architecture. The project's motive was to construct something unique looking at the future, exhibiting the soft romantic side incorporated to their optimism.

On looking deeper into the soviet era, it exhibits the idea of monumental internalized authoritarian building more or less. Heyder Aliyev Center's project, Baku, aimed at departing from the existing concept and creating a more flowy structure.

Being recognized as one of the world's architectural landmarks, Heyder Aliyev Center is the signature architecture landmark of modern Baku. It is designed to offer an aspirational platform to ensure effective engagement, communication, and interaction. It offers wide flexible venues and exhibition, and the building is composed of three sections, and they are as follows:

1. Heyder Aliyev Museum

2. Exhibition Halls ( 9 floors with exhibition halls, administrative office, and a cafeteria)

3. Auditorium

The Heyder Aliyev Center design evolved from endless investigations and research of the site's topography and the center's role within its broader cultural landscape. The project was intended to create a design unfolding the nation's future cultural possibilities, thereby playing an integral role in the city's intellectual life.

Zaha Hadid says, "This was an incredibly ambitious project for me. It was always my dream to design and build the theoretical project, and that was the closest thing to achieving that". Ar Zaha Hadid also bagged many awards for the same.

Late Ar. Zaha Hadid. Source: wikipedia

Zaha Hadid was the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004, the Stirling award ( UK's most prestigious architectural award) in 2010 and 2011. She was also awarded the Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects in February 2016.

The design concept, geometry, and structure of Heyder Aliyev Center, Baku, is worth discussing all the time, and the construction has amused the whole world. The most critical and challenging element of the project was the architectural development of the building's skin.


It principally consists of two collaborating systems: a concrete structure combined with a space frame system. To achieve large-scale column-free spaces that allow visitors to experience the interior's fluidity, vertical structural elements are absorbed by the envelope and curtain wall system. The particular surface geometry fosters unconventional structural solutions, such as the introduction of curved ‘boot columns’ to achieve the inverse peel of the surface from the ground to the West of the building and the ‘dovetail’ tapering of the cantilever beams that support the building envelope to the East of the site.

The space frame system enabled constructing a free-form structure and saved significant time throughout the construction process. Simultaneously, the substructure was developed to incorporate a flexible relationship between the space frame's rigid grid and the free-formed exterior cladding seams.

Glass Fibre Reinforced Concrete (GFRC) and Glass Fibre Reinforced Polyester (GFRP) were chosen as ideal cladding materials. They allow for the powerful plasticity of the building’s design while responding to very different functional demands.

Source: Archdaily

The intention was to relate to that historical understanding of architecture, not through mimicry or a limiting adherence to the iconography of the past, but rather by developing a firmly contemporary interpretation, reflecting a more nuanced understanding. Responding to the topographic sheer drop that formerly split the site in two, the project introduces a precisely terraced landscape that establishes alternative connections and routes between public plaza, building, and underground parking. This solution avoids additional excavation and landfill and successfully converts the site's initial disadvantage into a key design feature.