Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 5): New Power Station – Baku, Azerbaijan

Aga Khan IV delivering speech at Award for Architecture in 1983 at Topkapi Palace Istanbul
His Highness the Aga Khan addressing the audience at the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (AKAA) 1983 ceremony held at the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. AKDN / Christopher Little

“In the Third World especially, where most of [the nations] have only emerged recently from colonial rule in the last quarter of a century, architecture has long tended to be dominated by imported aesthetic ideas as well as by Western technology and materials. Even countries which have controlled their own political destinies for generations have accepted international canons of architecture which are in essence alien. In consequence, the revaluation of national inheritances which has been so strong a characteristic of recent decades has confronted many Islamic countries with a difficult dilemma. How can they maintain or revive their traditional cultures without losing the benefits of modern technology?

 

Shortlisted Project – 2014-2016 Award Cycle: New Power Station – Baku, Azerbaijan

The Power Station is located on a natural harbor in the Bay of Baku, which used to serve as a small shipyard for the ships working for the oil platforms.

The original brief asked the architects to demolish the old, late-19th century power station, and build a new events hall in its place. But after a site visit, the architects proposed two new buildings linked by an enclosed bridge to house event spaces, while preserving the old power station as an exhibition space.

The resulting New Power Station references the old through its placement and form, and the courtyard outside connects the former industrial site to its surroundings, the expanding green zone on the city’s waterfront.

The design, with a simple geometric mass, use of zinc and wood for the large sloped roof and the facade, reflects the industrial spirit of the site and enables it to serve as a flexible, multi-functional space.

The restaurants, jazz club and the concert area all have access routes to each other to form a dynamic circulation between the two buildings.

The New Power House design reflects what defines an industrial building in the collective memory and yet has a contemporary style as well.

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Researched & Compiled by Arif Ali

 

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