The Vision Behind Azerbaijan Tower and the Khazar Islands

In a world where bigger means better and wealth and power are expressed in architectural wonders, the competition for the world’s tallest building is an ongoing one. Ibrahim Ibrahimov, president of the Avesta Group of Companies, first envisioned the Azerbaijan Tower in 2010 on a flight from Dubai to Baku. He wanted to create a city and sketched out a lobster-shaped development of 40 to 50 artificial islands in the Caspian Sea. This planned community would be home to the world’s new tallest building, apartments, hotels, racetrack, yacht club, an airport, and at least 800,000 permanent residents.

Azerbaijan Tower Construction

The proposed Azerbaijan Tower would stand 3,445 feet, making it taller than Burj Khalifa’s by about 728 feet and even Saudi Arabia’s proposed Kingdom Tower by about 164 feet. Its blueprint features 189 floors and will be capable of withstanding earthquakes up to a magnitude of 9.0. Approximately 150 bridges will connect the islands and facilities within the complex.

“It will cost $3 billion just to build Azerbaijan Tower,” Ibrahimov told the New York Times. “Some people may object. I don’t care. I will build it alone. I work with my feelings.” He has stated that if anyone tries to out-do his tower, he’ll build an even bigger one.

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A Symbol of Wealth and Power

There have been discussions of building shopping centers, university campuses, cultural centers, and parks on the new islands as well. Ibrahimov’s vision is an impressive one, but not entirely unique. For example, Dubai already boasts of the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab Hotel with its abundance of glass and steel towers flanked by palm trees. These are the symbols of wealth and power in the Persian Gulf. Azerbaijan is a small country that’s made its wealth in the oil industry, bordering the Caspian Sea but separated from the world’s oceans.

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Improvements and Challenges

But Ibrahimov’s vision for the world’s largest tower and surrounding community strays a bit from the Dubai models. He wants his structures to seem less artificial, safer, and more beautiful. The islands are being built by trucking rocks and dirt in from a nearby mountain to build them in the sea. Not only is this the most ambitious project in Azerbaijan’s history, but it’s also a serious challenge due to recent political turmoil and protests against local corruption.

Avesta Consern has been planning to start construction of the new tower in 2015, with an estimated completion date in 2019. It will be the centerpiece of the island community, which is fully scheduled to be completed by 2022. We’ll be very curious to hear about the progress of this new construction in the year ahead!

Photo credit: Gulustan and Urek Meniashvili via WikiMedia Commons

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