Baku White City

The Black City is a 221-ha area located in Eastern Baku and whose negative industrial condition was inherited from the 19th century’s oil boom. It played an essential role in the economy of the city and the great evolution of Baku was possible thanks to the economic benefits produced by the activity in this zone.

Now the objective of Baku White City is to eliminate the industrial past of the area and to transform it into a new residential, commercial and business hub that will help the city to continue growing…

The masterplan is very ambitious and represents the way Baku is trying to reinvent itself and become a global city. By removing all the industrial remains and cleaning the area this part of the city will undoubtedly become more environmentally friendly. Nevertheless, virtual images of the project show that Baku may be losing an opportunity to achieve a more culturally sustainable masterplan.

As an example, the Green Hill will be a quarter with 45 villas framed by Parisian-style housing. Is it necessary to copy Paris, a city that already exists, to achieve the goal of attracting investors and citizens? It is probably the easiest way to do it, but not the only one. While Baku White City will be both environmentally and economically beneficial, it will also miss the opportunity to create something really unique and singular related to its context and culture.

Some basic data about the masterplan…

These are the surfaces for the different programs included in Baku White City:

Office: 440,000 m2
Comparison Retail: 230,000 m2
Residential: 3,600,000 m2
Flexible Commercial: 530,000 m2

And these are the main consultants involved in the design and construction of the project:

•Atkins (UK)
—Main consultant
—Masterplanning, transportation, environmental and architectural expertise.
—Detailed masterplans for six of the ten individual districts.

•Foster & Partners (UK)
—Consultant (Masterplan reviewer at key stages)
—Detailed masterplan for the Waterfront district (East & West)

•F+A Architects (USA)
—Provided detail design for “spine” bridge
—Detailed masterplan for Fountain Square
—Detailed masterplan for Baku City Mall

Finally, we show some pictures of our last visit to the construction site: