Atkins designs new district for Azerbaijani capital
The masterplan for the White City in Baku aims to transform the area into a brand new, high quality urban quarter, acting as a catalyst for the regeneration of the city and the wider region. This was the client’s primary objective when asking Atkins to prepare the overall strategic masterplan for this 220 hectare site, located on the eastern edge of the capital city.
Their vision looks to achieve this through the creation of a cohesive, carefully planned sustainable urban environment, offering distinct character and a high quality of life for its residents as well as the opportunity to attract and promote investment, generate jobs and strengthen the city’s economy.
This project, being undertaken by the Azerbaijan Development Company (ADEC), represents the largest urban development opportunity in Baku. The site straddles Nobel Prospect, the main transport artery linking the capital to its international airport. The modern centre of Baku will also be different thanks to the new city transportation system. It is planned to build a new underground station, accessing the central square of the White City and to run a tram line along the whole coast. Also in the plan is the all new water transport line, which will run along the Boulevard.
The scale of the development, which provides a gross total of 4,800,000 sq m of floor area, will be populated by a community of 50,000 people, provide homes for 19,700 households and jobs for close to 48,000 people, offers a unique opportunity to deliver a step-change in the quality of urban living in Baku, a development with highly sought-after residential areas, well connected commercial and business areas and high quality leisure facilities, linked together through a series of vibrant public squares, open spaces, streets and boulevards.
These have been planned to respond directly to the dramatic topographical character of the site. Key civic focal points of commercial activity, retail and leisure are located along a north-south central spine. Landmarks and gateway buildings have been carefully placed - often on high points and ridges - to create a legible visual structure, and to maximise opportunity for residential developments which command views of the Caspian Sea.