Known as the ‘region of eternal fires’, Baku’s long history of fire worshiping provided the inspiration for the development’s iconic design, consisting of three flame shaped towers, each with a different function, set in a triangular shape. Standing at 140 metres high, Baku Flame Towers can be seen from most vantage points within the surrounding area and is already a prominent feature of the Baku skyline.
Baku Flame Towers is a project by Azinko Development MMC. HOK were appointed as the architect, DIA Holdings the design and build contractors and Hill International as the project managers.
HOK undertook the masterplanning, concept and schematic design for the site and towers, and construction work is already well underway. The residential tower sits to the south, accommodating some 130 residential apartments over 39 floors, and is the tallest of the three towers. It houses luxury apartments and boasts stunning views across the surrounding area, while the hotel is sited on the northern corner of the site and consists of 250 rooms and 61 serviced apartments over 33 floors. The office tower is set on the western side of the complex, providing a net 33.114 square metres of grade A flexible commercial office space.
HOK completed the retail podium which acts as the anchor for the project, providing all of the leisure and retail facilities that service the three towers and visitors to the development. Located at the heart of the site, the atrium incorporates three levels of leisure facilities including boutique shops, restaurants and a cinema. Where the towers and pavilions meet, gaps in the framework allow the surroundings to be drawn inside, the landscape of the street merging with the interior to create a fluid boundary between inside and outside space.
Barry Hughes, Head of Retail and Mixed Use said, “Our aim was for the bold form of the towers to create a unique focal point on Baku’s skyline and we were keen to that dynamic vocabulary into the interior spaces. By creating a fluid boundary between the interior space of the pavilions and the exterior context, the retail and leisure spaces would serve as a natural connection between the towers and their different uses. Linking the scheme to its surroundings and thus reinforcing the existing urban context was considered critical from the earliest stages of the design process.”
From the Facade Engineers | Priedemann
Have you ever opened a normal window at a height of 170 meters?
OK, it’s a rhetorical question. You would be lucky to be here if you said “yes”: The power of the wind would have dragged you out of the opening, along with the window. Especially in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, which is known as the “City of Winds”. There the three Flame Towers reach up into the blustery sky to a height of 170 meters.
The plan was to install a facade access system at a height of 170 meters. For this to happen, the facade should be able to be opened – in such a way that it is hardly noticeable and that the door leaves can withstand wind loads of up to 7.5 kN (on average approx. 1.5 kN are normal) even when open. Added to this were the size and weight of the doors – the size of garage doors, with double glazing and an angle of inclination of up to 30°.
An effective solution
We were required to work out a functional concept for the doors, the actuator and the size of the structure from these requirements. To do this we produced 3D CAD models, to analyze the geometry and to sketch out different approaches to solving the problem. Dekoral, who constructed the facade, used these models as the basis for the production of a 1:1 working model.
Extensive structural calculations provided the specifications for additional work planning. Our engineers from Priedemann in Istanbul supported the work on site. Finally, around 120 systems with different geometries and a weight of up to 1.2 tons were installed to make the 64,000 square meters of facade area of the 3 Flame Towers accessible.
A useful side effect:
By changing the motors from electric to hydraulic, we were able to half the costs for the actuators and keep the system with practically no maintenance.
Have you ever opened a Priedemann folding slide door at a height of 170 meters?? Well you can!
Facade Engineers: Priedemann
Location: Baku, Azerbaijan
Area: 234500.0 m2
Project Year: 2013
Photographs: Farid Khayrulin
Category: Office Buildings
Manufacturers: Mikodam, Osram