Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku – Zaha Hadid

Home » News » Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku – Zaha Hadid

The design of the Heydar Aliyev Center establishes a continuous, fluid relationship between its surrounding plaza and the building’s interior. The plaza, as the ground surface; accessible to all as part of Baku’s urban fabric, rises to envelop an equally public interior space and define a sequence of event spaces dedicated to the collective celebration of contemporary and traditional Azeri culture.

It’s located on the Heydar Aliyev Boulevard from the international airport to the old city, so in a way it kind of greets you, welcomes you, as you approach the city and it unfolds.

The centre, which contains exhibition spaces, a library, a museum and concert venues, is set in a public plaza, the ground of which rises up to form the building’s wave-like shell.

Saffet Kaya Bekiroglu, an associate at Zaha Hadid Architects who led the project, said the building reflected the romance and optimism of Azerbaijan, which gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. “They wanted to have something unique, something which is looking at the future, somehow showing their soft, romantic side but at the same time their optimistic side,” said Bekiroglu in an interview

The Heydar Aliyev Center is the first architecture project to have won the overall title of Design of the Year in the Design Museum’s annual awards. “This was an incredibly ambitious project and for me,” Hadid said. “It was always my dream to design and build the theoretical project and that was the closet thing to achieving that.”

Photography by Hélène Binet,  Hufton + Crow,  Iwan Baan