This giving an idea of just how large

This centre was built in Baku, Azerbaijan, The Republic of
Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan has quite heavily invested in modernising and developing
Baku’s architecture and infrastructure, due to the mark that was left on it
from the time it was part of the Soviet Union. ZHA was given the task to create
this Centre which would later become the primary building for the nation’s cultural
program. By designing such a modern and fluent building in the heart of
monumental Soviet architecture, allows Baku to express the optimism that
they’re trying to bring forth for their nation as part of the Azeri culture. I
believe this shows ZHA’s global aspect as whole, it depicts how they can work
in multiple landscapes and many different regions of the world and one
particular time without losing their aspect on quality, or their design
philosophy which “is geared to a new time
of dynamism, complexity and to a contemporary networked society”.

The site is 111,292m2 whereas the building
itself, is 57,519m2, giving an idea of just how large it actually
is. The continuous skin of the building was completed through advanced
computing as it allowed the continuous control and communication of said
complexities. The Centre consists of 2 main collaborating systems, which are: a concrete structure combined with a space
frame system. In order to achieve a large-scale column-free spaces that allow
the visitor to experience the fluidity of the interior, vertical structural
elements are absorbed by the envelope and curtain wall system.  Due to the nature of the surface geometry,
unconventional structure solutions where used, and thus, the introduction of ‘boot columns’ helped to attain this
‘inverse peel’ of the surface from the ground to the West of the building.
Furthermore, the ‘dove-tail’ tapering
of the

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-cantilever beams that support the building envelope to the
East of the site. This establishes ZHA’s design research group’s
efficiency, in addition, it depicts their capability on how they can work
together as a team and how the complexity and uniqueness of each of their
designs and shapes are created.

This frame allowed the construction of a free-form structure
as well as reducing time throughout the construction process, while the
substructure of the building was developed to assimilate a flexible correlation
amongst the rigid grid of the frame and the free- -form exterior cladding
seams. The ideal cladding materials that were chosen for this specific frame
were GFRC and GFRP (Glass Fibre Reinforced Concrete and Glass Fibre Reinforced
Polyester) as they responded the different functional demands related to the
varying situations, moreover, it enabled the powerful plasticity of the
building’s design. The seams provide a realistic solution to the construction
issues formed such as the assembly, transportation, handling and manufacturing,
in addition, they answer the technical constraints, such as external loads,
seismic activity, wind loading, temperature change and accommodating movement
due to deflection. Again, this depicts how CODE can be used research into their
projects and create complex shapes and buildings that have phenomenal fluid
designs with enough structural integrity to support itself as well. It “expresses their ability bring together three
components into one connective institution; it’s a library, convention centre
and a museum, merged into one, so the landscape literally crawls up the edge of
the building – it’s very exhilarating”.

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