The construction of a striking complex of three mixed-use high rises in Baku, the Flame Towers, is now complete with interior fit out well underway.
HOK has undertaken masterplanning, concept and schematic design, with DiA Holdings as design and build contractor and Azinko MMC as engineer.
A residential tower sits to the south, with 130 residential apartments over 39 floors, and is the tallest of the three towers.
The Fairmont Baku hotel, situated on the northern corner of the site, consists of 318 guest rooms, whilst the western-most tower provides 33,114m2 of grade A flexible office space.
Located on a hill overlooking the city, with views extending across Caspian Sea, the three towers sweep dramatically upwards to form a striking silhouette on the city’s skyline.
The project was originally sketched on a single sheet of paper, evoking the momentary flicker of a flame.
At the base of the towers, a number of smaller, discreet structures form the retail and leisure pavilions, which mediate between the scale of the towers and their surroundings.
The pavilion contains three levels of leisure facilities, including boutique shops, restaurants and a cinema.
Known as the ‘region of eternal fires’, Azerbaijan’s long history of fire worship and ongoing relationship with natural gas provided the inspiration for HOK’s design.
Barry Hughes, vice president, HOK in London, said: “Our aim from the outset was to create a unique focal point on Baku’s skyline.
“The flame is such an intrinsic part of region’s identity, but translating this into the design was a real challenge. We were keen to ensure a sense of movement, the idea of momentary flicker, so it was important that the shape of the towers was realistic, especially the ‘flick’ at the top of each tower.”
Flame Towers were designed and conceived using BIM, enabling the team to refine the unusual shape of the buildings.
The use BIM was also critical in enabling the development to be built, giving the team the ability to model the construction process before work began on site.
This was said to provide a crucial advantage for constructing a large-scale project in a seismic region such as Baku.
The original concept model was conceived in Revit Architecture 2008 while the interiors and retail pavilion were documented in Revit 2010/AutoCAD 2010.