Baku is a city where Eastern and European traditions have closely intertwined for centuries, representatives of different nationalities lived in peace and friendship, modern architecture coexisted with the traditional, and the old way of life was abruptly replaced by the new. Baku is the largest dynamically developing economic, industrial and scientific center in the Caucasus, which is radically changing before our eyes. The project in Azerbaijan has become an important and interesting urban planning experience for the architects of the APEX project bureau for the integration of a modern residential area in the city center.
Development project in Baku
520 000 m2
The 26-hectare site is bounded by the Central Park from the south, Abdulla Shaig street from the west, Shikhali Kurbanov street from the east and Balababa Majidov street from the north. We analyzed the complications and proposed the optimal way of urban development.
By the tenth years of the XXI century, developers had reached many central areas of the city. New quarters chaotically appeared at the end of the 19th century while low-rise European-style houses perished under the onslaught of bulldozers. Soon, almost nothing remained of the development that has been maturating for over a century and a half. The city grows upwards, becomes denser and new buildings do not always look tactful and appropriate. If the well-known project of the White City in the eastern part of Baku is a successful example of redevelopment of industrial territories, then the story taking place in Kubinka and Sovetskaya, two-three-storey residential areas with authentic buildings, is an example of the absence of a scenario for the integrated development of territories. Unfortunately, it will not be possible to preserve the building blocks of the last two centuries. Conservation of the low-rise historical center of Baku is not possible given the price of the land. Nonetheless, it is great to see infill development and the Central park as the successors of the demolished quarters.
If it is already impossible to save, then it is possible and necessary to come up with a detailed plan, how to integrate and develop something new as delicately as possible, taking into account the socio-cultural, economic and transport-pedestrian aspects. When designing the area on the site of the demolished low-rise quarters, the architects were guided by several principles:
- keeping the directions of existing streets;
- preservation of historical buildings of the mosque and baths;
- arrangement of a pedestrian and shopping street from the Nizami Ganjavi metro station to the projected square and Tezepir mosque;
- arrangement of the square as a compositional center of the district;
- integration of residential buildings into the park;
- limitation of the building height to eight floors;
- division of buildings into closed quarters with a clear hierarchy of private and public spaces;
- three zones: "park", "central", "private".
Residential buildings with semicircular facades face the Central Park. The flowing shapes create small public spaces along the green edge, inviting to enter the area. The park quarter is formed by predominantly sectional buildings with a closed perimeter and a landscaped green courtyard inside.
A shopping and pedestrian street has been laid from the existing square near the metro, designed to become the main pedestrian artery of the district. Restaurants, shops, bars and souvenir shops in the ground floors of the buildings of the central quarter along the streamline will become part of the tourist route. The pedestrian street leads to the square, where we propose the construction of a building that would be significant for the city: a museum, a theater, a library. The preserved building of the bathhouse “Shore Hammam” built in 1889 is facing the square. One can get from the square to the Tezepir mosque following the street that leads to the park. Thus, we plan to direct the pedestrian flow to and from the metro through the projected area.
The private or "quiet" quarter is formed by towers and is distinguished by a greater sparseness. It is intended to become a transitional module to the projected area from the north, as the adjacent quarters, after the demolition of the remaining Soviet buildings, can develop according to the principles of the tower infill scenario.
The architecture of the facades of the proposed buildings is sustained in the usual for Baku light range of natural limestone. The silhouette is formed by the pitched roofs of the attic floors and terraces at the level of penthouses.