Hi Sun Choi
Senior Principal
Thornton Tomasetti, New York City

The old oil city Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, has been transforming into the Caspian’s new hub of high-rise buildings and lively culture. With new urban planning to accommodate rapidly increasing demands for residential, cultural and business spaces, Baku is preparing for its new role as a world city.

The Kitly district, near the center of downtown Baku, has changed from a district of narrow streets hemmed in by low-rise masonry buildings to a modern, active community of buildings with breathtaking forms, filled with thriving businesses and a strong base of young professionals. SOCAR Tower, Azersu Office Tower and the recently topped-out Ministry of Taxation (MOT) Tower have revitalized the skyline of Baku with their futuristic shapes.

The MOT Tower consists of five twisted stacking cubes, suspended from a circular central core. Each cube holds five office floors and a column-free green roof terrace, affording a distinguished separation between the cubes. Subsequent floors each twist 1.2 degrees with respect to the floor below, creating an astonishing 40-degree twist overall. SOCAR Tower is already a local landmark with its dynamic flame-like shape, representing continuous development of the country and its future. Across from SOCAR Tower, Azersu Office Tower is shaped like a drop of water. These high-rise buildings, reflecting fire, water, and modernistic cubes, linked between their podia by skybridges, have given Kitly a unique, well-balanced and organically blended composition. This presentation traces the transformation of Baku --through building design solutions, and the construction challenges overcome -- through collaborative teamwork, from an old oil city to a futuristic building gallery.