Heydar Aliyev Center
Heydar Aliyev Center - Built on the site of a Soviet munitions factory, the Heydar Aliyev Centre’s fluid architecture embodies an enlightened philosophical framework. Breaking from rigid and often monumental Soviet architecture that is so prevalent in Baku, its open forms promise to open and engage Azeri culture with an act of attraction rather than imposition. The centre’s fluid exterior surfaces rise from its surroundings to define a series of exhibition and performance spaces within, inviting the urban fabric of the city into the heart of building.
Named ‘Design of the Year’ by London’s Design Museum, the centre was cited as “a masterwork of invention and execution,” and since opening, has hosted exhibitions by Azeri and international artists such as Andy Warhol, Tony Cragg and Bernard Buffet. The centre has also held performances of opera by Alessandro Safina, jazz by Deedee Bridgewater, experimental music by Kiatro and violin by Itzhak Perlman. On his recent visit to Baku, Pope Francis addressed religious leaders and local residents in the centre’s theatre.
2014’s Design of the Year winner was chosen by a distinguished panel of experts from over 70 nominated designs in the categories of Architecture, Digital, Fashion, Furniture, Graphics, Product and Transport. All of the nominated designs are on display in an exhibition at the Design Museum until 25 August 2014.
Zaha Hadid said: ‘We’re absolutely delighted to receive the Design of the Year Award. The surface of the Heydar Aliyev Centre’s external plaza rises and folds to define a sequence of public event spaces within; welcoming, embracing and directing visitors throughout the building. It’s an architectural landscape where concepts of seamless spatial flow are made real – creating a whole new kind of civic space for the city.’