Winner: Heydar Aliyev Cultural Centre, Baku, Azerbaijan by Maurice Brill Lighting Design
Photo: Iwan Baan
Azerbaijan as a country is experiencing a massive change in its cultural identity; it is shedding its past Soviet-era image for one of a vibrant and confident nation that inspires its people. The capital city Baku is at the epicentre of this change and the Heydar Aliyev Cultural centre is the genesis of this new beginning. This project was designed to create a lighting design solution that complements the fluid nature of the architecture and echoes the architectural narrativeby Zaha Hadid Architects.
The design of the building with its seamless curves represents infinite architecture as the building's walls dissolve in the ground. The cultural centre houses three separate activities: a museum core, learning library and a performance theatre all under one free-flowing roof that spans more than 36,400 sq m. Lighting responds to the constantly varying three-dimensional geometry and is aimed at expressing the sculptural quality of the building. Innovative lighting details discreetly integrated within the building fabric graze the surface of the expansive lobby that connects all the main spaces, modelling the skin and providing indirect lighting. Numerous lighting studies, calculations, mock-ups, trials and luminaire samples had to be produced to arrive at a design solution that would satisfy the aesthetics and functionality. The lighting design of this building is the culmination of six years of study of andexperimentation in complex curved architecture and the pursuit of a unified design that underscores the core architectural narrative.
The judges said:
'Perfect integration of light with architecture'
'Stunning strong architectural forms beautifully lit'