Zaha Hadid’s Heydar Aliyev Centre Wins Design Museum’s Design of the Year

Heydar Aliyev Centre by Zaha Hadid

The Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, Azerbaijan, designed by Zaha Hadid, has been awarded the Overall Winner of ‘Designs of the Year 2014’ from the Design Museum’s annual international competitive exhibition.

Heydar Aliyev Centre by Zaha Hadid

Now in its seventh year, Designs of the Year gathers together a year of cutting-edge innovation and original talent; showcasing the very best in global Architecture, Digital, Fashion, Furniture, Graphic, Product and Transport design.

Designs of the Year is the Design Museum’s exhibition of the most innovative, interesting and forward-looking design of all kinds, from around the world. 2014’s nominees included international design stars such as John Pawson, Stephen Jones, David Chipperfield and Miuccia Prada, alongside crowd-funded start ups and student projects. A distinguished panel of experts chose a winner from each category and one overall winner.

‘We’re absolutely delighted to receive the design of the year award. The surface of the Heydar Aliyev Centre’s external plaza rises and folds to define a sequence of public event spaces within; welcoming, embracing and directing visitors throughout the building. It’s an architectural landscape where concepts of seamless spatial flow are made real – creating a whole new kind of civic space for the city,’ commented Zaha Hadid, the first woman to win the competition’s top prize.

Photos, video and architectural plans of the Heydar Aliyev Centre:


Ground floor plan:

Site plan with section cut:

above photos by Helene Binet, Iwan Baan, Hufton+Crow

As part of the former Soviet Union, the urbanism and architecture of Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan on the Western coast of the Caspian Sea, was heavily influenced by the planning of that era. Since its independence in 1991, Azerbaijan has invested heavily in modernising and developing Baku’s infrastructure and architecture, departing from its legacy of normative Soviet Modernism.

Zaha Hadid Architects was appointed as design architects of the Heydar Aliyev Center following a competition in 2007. The Center, designed to become the primary building for the nation’s cultural programs, breaks from the rigid and often monumental Soviet architecture that is so prevalent in Baku, aspiring instead to express the sensibilities of Azeri culture and the optimism of a nation that looks to the future.

• Baku, Azerbaijan
• 2007 – 2012
• The Republic of Azerbaijan
• Built 101,801m2
• Building: 57,519m²
• Site: 111,292m²
• Footprint: 15,514m²

above info, video and photos courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

The Other Category winners in the Design Museum’s Design of the Year:

Designed by Dr Andrew Bastawrous, Stewart Jordan, Dr Mario Giardini, Dr Iain Livingstone.

• Fashion: PRADA S/S14
Designed by Miuccia Prada.

Designed by Konstantin Grcic.

Designed by James Bridle /

Designed by Roland Lamb and Hong-Yeul Eom.

• Transport: XL1 CAR
Designed by Volkswagen.

• The winner of the Social Vote:
Designed by Dave Hakkens

All of the nominated designs are on display at the Design Museum, in an exhibition open from 26 March to 25 August 2014.