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Build It Bigger

 

Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center And Flame Towers

Baku, Azerbaijan
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Located along the Caspian Sea above Iran, Baku is the capital of Azerbaijan and its largest city. The financial center for the old Soviet Empire, this 1,500-year-old metropolis once produced half of the world's oil supply. Almost 20 years after the fall of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan is now emerging from the shadows of Russian rule. Backed by oil reserves worth nearly half a trillion dollars, Baku is attempting to reinvent the country's reputation by rebuilding the entire city!

This staggering $6 billion a year redevelopment plan starts with one of the most ambitious construction projects ever attempted: the Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center. Designed by world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid, this 970,000-square-foot complex will house a 1,200-seat concert hall, national museum and library all under one roof — creating a structure unlike anything the world has ever seen. Defined by a243-foot-tall continuously folding structure, the building's seamless curves will flow in one solid surface to form the floors, ceiling and surrounding landscape, where exterior walls blend — and then disappear altogether — into the city's outdoor cultural plaza.

Five miles to the southwest, another mind-blowing development: the Flame Towers. This stunning $350 million trio of towers is designed to look like a series of flames, symbolizing Azerbaijan's long tradition of fire worship. Rising nearly 800 feet, the Flame Towers will be among the tallest skyscrapers in the country. But it's their constantly curving design that makes these some of the most challenging structures ever attempted. Build it Bigger arrives on-site at a critical juncture in construction as crews are topping off both projects' jaw-dropping roofs. If the team succeeds, Baku will reinvent its image and emerge as the world's next iconic city.

 
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