Zira Zero Island is a 1,000,000 m2 master plan for a carbon neutral resort and residential development on Zira Island located along the Caspian Sea. As a young post-soviet democracy, Azerbaijan is rediscovering its national identity by imagining Zira Island as an architectural landscape based upon the country’s dramatic natural setting. Located within the crescent shaped bay of the capital city Baku, Zira Island includes the Seven Peaks of Azerbaijan which is envisioned by its designers BIG Architects and the engineers Ramboll to be a sustainable model for urban development, and an iconographic skyline recognizable from the city’s coastline.
The vision of Zira Island is to create a new development that is entirely independent of external resources – in other words a self contained island. By combining the best of the traditional Azerbaijani building tradition with the newest technology, Zira Island will provide excellent living spaces for people, with a minimum usage of resources.
Living models of the mountain ecosystems
Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner of BIG:
What we propose for Zira Zero Island is an architectural landscape based on the natural landscape of Azerbaijan. This new architecture not only recreates the iconic silhouettes of the seven peaks, but more importantly creates an autonomous ecosystem where the flow of air, water, heat and energy are channelled in almost natural ways. A mountain creates biotopes and eco-niches, it channels water and stores heat, it provides viewpoints and valleys, access and shelter. The Seven Peaks of Azerbaijan are not only metaphors, but actual living models of the mountainous ecosystems of Azerbaijan.
A new way of thinking sustainable planning
Lars Ostenfeld Riemann, Director, Buildings & Design, Ramboll:
Zira Island will be an important step into the future of urban development in Caucasus and Central Asia. By help of the wind, the sun and the waste the Island will produce the same amount of energy as it consumes. In a society literately built on oil this will serve as a showcase for a new way of thinking sustainable planning. Following other ambitious eco-city projects like Dongtan in China and Masdar in Abu Dhabi this project will cause the carbon emissions of people living there to decline over the next decade. From an engineering point of view we are just as thrilled by the challenge of letting the design of the buildings reflect the shape of the mountains of Azerbaijan. Surely we are looking forward to the construction of these exceptional structures.
Each of the Seven Peaks house a residential development derived from the geometry of a famous mountain in Azerbaijan. Individually each mountain becomes a principle for mixing private and public functions. Together the mountains form an organic skyline merging with the natural topography of the island. A dense vibrant urban community connected to a series of private resort villages by a central public valley and surrounding beaches. A continuous public trekking path connects the mountains and invites visitors to scale the top of all seven peaks. In addition to the Seven Peaks the Master Plan also includes 300 private villas that take advantage of their setting with panoramic views out over the Caspian Sea.