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Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center

Zaha Hadid Architects

Shared By

dmadsen, hanley wood, llc

Project Name

Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center

Project Status


Year Completed



57,519 sq. meters


DIA Holding, Republic of Azerbaijan


  • General Contractor: DIA Holding
  • Structural Engineer: AKT
  • Structural Engineer: Tuncel Engineers
  • Structural Engineer: MERO
  • Werner Sobek
  • : GMD Engineers
  • Dbkes, Mezzo Studyo
  • Lighting Designer: MBLD
  • Etik Engineering
  • Arabian Profile
  • Sanset-Ikoor
  • Betako
  • Lindner Group
  • Limit
  • Dekoral Aygun
  • Wet Design



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Project Description


A major new venue and landmark structure, the Heydar Aliyev Center will play a pivotal role in the redevelopment of Baku: defining a new neighborhood designated for residential, offices, hotel and commercial center; facing out onto a new outdoor piazza.
This 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 center's continuous surface. This fluidity connects diverse cultural spaces while also providing each with its own identity and privacy.
The museum faces out into the landscape - participating in the urban fabric of the city developing around the site, its glass façade subtly interrupted by the sculptural interplay between outer skin and ground. Natural light 'floods' the interior via a glass façade.
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 center.
The conference center 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.

For ARCHITECT Magazine's full coverage, please read Joseph Giovannini's piece at
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