Zaha Hadid Archi Lab

Architecture report – in 2006 Zaha Hadid, the iraqi-born, stirling and pritzer-price winning architect won the competition to build the cultural center heydad aliyev in Baku, capital of Azerbaijan.

The building had to symbolize the times of renewal that the asian country is going through with a majority muslim population, but officially a secular state.

It was a soviet republic for over 70 years, located in the caucasus, a neighboring country of russia, georgia, turkey, armenia and iran.

The center, designed to become the main building of the national cultural programs, was also born to express the sensibility of the azeri culture and the optimism of a nation that looks to the future.

The current president is ilham aliyev, since 2003. He is the son of the national leader and “father” of the country’s independence that took place in 1991 and which is celebrated with the construction of the namesake building in question, heydar aliyev. He remained in power for more than 30 years, minutely detailed in the biographical museum that is part of hadid’s building.

The design of the heydar aliyev center establishes a connection between the surrounding square and the inside of building, making it continuous and fluid. The square, available for everyone as a part of the urban fabric of baku, rises to wrap an inner space, also public, and defines a sequence of spaces for events dedicated to collective celebration of their own culture, both contemporary and traditionally azeri.

We can read waves, forks, folds and inflections, transforming the surface of the square into an architectural landscape that performs multiple functions: as a reception, as a guidance to visitors through different levels of the inside and the shelter.

The building combines and nuances the conventional distinction between the architectural object and the urban landscape, constructing as shape and as background, the building shell and the urban square, inside and outside; the fluidity, traditionally represented in the historical islamic architecture, establishes sequences to infinity, creating non- hierarchical spaces and relations without clear connections between the architectural elements and their surroundings.

 

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