News has been leaked that Azerbaijan is planning to surpass Skidmore Owings and Merrill’s 828m Burj Khalifa and Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill’s proposed 1,000m Kingdom Tower in Jeddah with a 1,050m spire in its capital city of Baku. An architect for the scheme has not yet been named.
The city has undergone a dramatic transformation. Azerbaijan is recognised as having one of the earliest recorded settlements and has undergone a turbulent history as its fate passed from dynasty to dynasty until it became part of the Russian Empire in 1813. The oil-rich land tempted a Soviet invasion in the early twentieth century which led to the formation of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic, a title which the country only shook off some twenty years ago.
Since this emergence into independence Azerbaijan has flourished architecturally, instigating a new range of large-scale architectural projects over the past few years. In a month’s time the city of Baku will host the Eurovision Song Contest at gmp’s predictably angular Crystal Hall venue and Atkins has unveiled plans for a 220 hectare masterplan for White City.
Details of the world’s most recent tallest building are few and far between, with the name ‘Azerbaijan Tower’ floated on a preliminary basis. The spire is allegedly planned to sit on the edge of the Caspian Sea and overlook Baku’s major new development: Khazar Islands. This immense project involves the production of 41 artificial islands dubbed the ‘new Venice’ and is currently under construction.