A New Headquarters that Optimizes Form: Ministry of Taxes, Baku

Session: Track A: Best Tall Building Award: 100-199m, Part 2 & 200-299m, Part 1

Daniel KaplanHi Sun ChoiProject image

Daniel Kaplan
Senior Partner, FXCollaborative Architects
New York City

Hi Sun Choi
Senior Principal, Thornton Tomasetti, Inc.
New York City

The Ministry of Taxes embraces the essence of the energetic city of Baku, the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan. Located on the western coast of the Caspian Sea, Baku experiences high seismic activity and high winds, which led to an innovative structural design for the tower. Rapid growth in the last few decades has transformed the city into a lively urban hub. The building is one of the tallest structures on Heydar Aliyev Avenue, a major street in the city that features a mix of Soviet-era architecture, modernist buildings, and a notable cultural center. It creates a memorable presence on the skyline with a unique spiraling design that optimizes solar heat gain and spectacular views.

The tower provides the ministry with a new office headquarters to house employees under one roof in an exceptional signature structure, guided by cultural responses, sustainable concerns, and its highly visible location. The design consists of five cube forms of varying size that rotate and taper upwards, while resting on a podium base. The lower four cubes house five floors of office space, and the top cube includes private one-and two-bedroom guest suites for visiting dignitaries as well as a formal restaurant. The stacked cubes are independently cantilevered from a circular central core, and each volume is separated by a column-free green roof terrace that provides distinct separation from the next cube. Each floor is rotated 1.2 degrees with respect to the floor below to create a smooth curve up the tower, and the result is a distinctive spiraling design.

The building’s façade allows for openness through floor to ceiling glazing, while providing appropriate levels of privacy where needed. The metal scrim allows for ample daylight while reducing glare and creating a more pleasant working environment. Laced throughout the tower are indoor/outdoor green spaces—including sky gardens at the top of each cube—that promote access to the outdoors while providing natural environments adjacent to workspace, fresh air, and social places for employees and visitors alike. A robust amenity package also supports visitors’ wellbeing, including a 400-seat auditorium, conference rooms, cafeteria, formal restaurant, and fitness club.

View Building Information on CTBUH.org