Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center by Zaha Hadid Architects

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Zaha Hadid Architects designed recently opened Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, capital of Azerbaijan. This impressive piece of modern architecture became world wide known long before completion. “The most fluid of buildings emerges through the folding of the surrounding landscape’s natural topography which extends to “wrap” the different functions housed within – each one represented by the folds in the centre’s continuous surface. This fluidity connects diverse cultural spaces while also providing each with its own identity and privacy.

Read next: Modern Architecture By Zaha Hadid Architects

The museum faces out into the landscape – participating in the urban fabric of the city developing around the site, its glass facade subtly interrupted by the sculptural interplay between outer skin and ground. Natural light “floods” the interior via a glass facade. The library faces north, effectively controlling admitted light, while reading and archive floors are stacked and wrapped within the folds of the outer envelope. The floors fall to each other with ramps connecting them, allowing continuous circulation. Library and museum are further connected by a ramp that leads through the ground floor of the Library to the first floor of the museum, while a bridge “flies” across the library foyer connecting to the conference centre. The conference centre accommodates three auditoriums of different sizes, all with direct access to the external plaza through a main entrance located within the void created by “stretching” the volume’s outer skin. Surrounding landscape rises to merge with the building, forming radiated earth mounds, while the building itself blends with its surrounds to form the new plaza – a forum for public engagement.

          -Zaha Hadid Architects

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All photos © courtesy of Heydar Aliyev Center

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