Zaha Hadid’s masterpiece, the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku is a must-see modern architectural wonder in Azerbaijan. You simply cannot miss this building, which looks like cartoon mountains covered in snow. Designed by the Iraqi-born British architect Zaha Hadid, this masterpiece is full of flowing curves, wonky shapes and futuristic windows, which fill a 619,000 sqaure-foot space named after the former president of Azerbaijan. Set on the western coast of the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan has been an independent country since 1991, but modernist buildings from the Soviet era can still be seen throughout the capital. The Heydar Aliyev Center offers a breath of fresh air in terms of visual harmony and was completed in 2012 following a five-year construction period. The Center represents a fluid form which emerges by the folding of the landscape’s natural topography and by the wrapping of functions of the Center. All functions of the Center, together with entrances, are represented by folds in a single continuous surface. This fluid form gives an opportunity to connect the various cultural spaces whilst at the same time, providing each element of the Center with its own identity and privacy. As it folds inside, the skin erodes away to become an element of the interior landscape of the Center
Heydar Aliyev Center to promote Azeri culture
The Heydar Aliyev Center was built to promote Azeri culture – showcasing traditional folk costumes and intricate rugs – as well as contemporary art, including works by foreign artists. In 2013, for example, the country’s first Andy Warhole exhibition was held there. Moscow‘s Helikon Opera has also performed at the center, presenting the opera Siberia by Italian composer Umberto Giodano that same year. Boasting a conference hall, an auditorium, an art gallery and a museum, the center represents a key cornerstone of Baku’s ongoing development and received the London Design Museum’s Design of the Year Award in 2014. As in historical Islāmic architecture, rows, grids, and sequences of columns stream to infinity like trees in a forest, establishing a non-hierarchical space. Continuous calligraphic and ornamental patterns flow from carpets to walls, walls to ceilings and ceilings to domes, blurring distinctions between architectural elements and the ground on which they were built. The fluid building eschews sharp angles, representing a continuous relationship between the interior and exterior, and between the past and the present. One of its main features is a “dovetail” of beams that rise in the east.
|Address||1 Heydar Aliyev prospekti, Baku|