The revival vision of the quarter in Baku
Within the framework of the revival of historical areas of Baku, ANNVIL/COBALT are cooperating on a development vision for 4.7 ha, which will include the restoration and repurposing of existing buildings as well as the construction of new low-rise buildings that will replace architecturally insignificant and structurally outdated buildings in two districts that cover an area of 27 000 m2.
HISTORICAL SCOPE: At the beginning of the 20th century other industrial sectors, which contributed to Baku’s growth to the size of an industrial centre of the Russian Empire, arose along with the industrial extraction of oil. The rapid economic growth contributed to the formation of a well-established layer of society – entrepreneurs and traders who, in turn, built a large number – whole quarters – of new and modern buildings in the city. Before falling under the control of the Soviet Union, the area due to undergo revival was referred to as the “Jewish district,” and in recent decades it has lost some of its appeals.
URBAN STRATEGY: The revival project commissioned by COBALT intends to identify the cultural heritage of the quarter and return its original charm as well as to eliminate any minor temporary structures and eyesores. The untapped potential of the quarter reveals itself after we lift the abandonment layer. In addition to architectural solutions, it has been planned to give sustainable functional fulfillment to the existing and new buildings. Based on detailed urban research and analysis, we propose a future vision of the quarter’s regeneration, which will contribute to the growth of the quarter through architectural improvement and the development of a new cultural space, and it will increase the quality of life of the inhabitants.
ARCHITECTURE: It is planned to complement the territory with modern architecture that, by interacting with existing buildings, would create a favorable environment for the coexistence of various functions, including multi-apartment houses, hotels, cultural institutions, and commercial premises, while also respecting the historic heritage, scale and spatial extent of the quarter. A variety of features will enhance the interaction between different audiences.
The culture of presence in the inner courtyards that historically characterizes Baku city and its public space is one of the priorities which are planned to be reanimated and reintegrated into everyday life. In order to promote active use of the public outdoor space, one of the central quarter’s streets is planned to be transformed into a pedestrian street.
This vision is shaped like a well-wish for the city. Each action and initiative is a deliberate step to inspire the city’s residents to improve at an individual and collective level.