Heydar Aliyev Center in Azerbaijan Snags Design of Year Award from London Design Museum

The striking architecture of Azerbaijan's mixed-use center lands the project the Design of the Year award from The London Design Museum.

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The London Design Museum for the Heydar Aliyev Center in the capital of Azerbaijan has awarded Zaha Hadid with the Design of the year award. The striking new architecture in the city of Baku is a result of the recent influx of capital due to the country’s success in the fossil fuels business. The city currently also features pertinent and visually impressive works of architecture such as the Flame Towers and the Baku Crystal Hall, as well as the in-development SOCAR Tower and the Azerbaijan Tower, the latter of which will be built just south of the city on the Khazar Islands.

The 619,000 square-foot building reaches a maximum height of 74 at the apex of the largest “wave.” Zaha Hadid’s design for the Heydar Aliyev Center beat out six other structures for the coveted award, with the design that the Iraqi-British architect won the international competition to design the center back in 2007. The main idea is a reinterpretation of the typical fluidity of Islamic design, straying away from the more stunted, functionality-driven aesthetic of the years spent as part of the Soviet Union. Many of the new projects in Baku are essentially an artistic reaction to the formalism that has characterized the area for decades.heydar alyiev 2

The Heydar Aliyev Center serves as a multi-functional facility that is used as a venue for many major events hosted by the capital. The building was home to a number of cultural events such as a Michael Bolton concert, an arms exhibition, the 12th ECO summit, classic music concerts, and art shows, showing off its versatility and the amount of adaptation that the space offers in order to accommodate these various types of happenings. The construction process used a steel space frame and the exterior is wrapped in glass-fiber reinforced concrete panels.

Zaha Hadid’s design beat out the other nominees such as the Makoto Floating School in Nigeria, La Tallera Siqueiros in Cuernacava, Mexico, Frac Nord-Pas de Calais in Dunkerque, FRAC Centre, Les Turbulences, Orléans, Façade for Paul Smith in London and Child Chemo House in Osaka.