Structural Challenges with the SOCAR Tower in Baku, a New Megacity in the Caspian Region

Hi Sun Choi CTBUH Leader
Senior Principal
Thornton Tomasetti, New York City

Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, has been rapidly transforming into a hub of high-rise buildings and cultural centers in the Caspian region. Baku’s population now accounts for more than 40 percent of the nation. With the 2012 opening of the new Heydar Aliyev International Airport, the city skyline has been reshaped by tall buildings; among these, the SOCAR Headquarters Tower is the tallest. The SOCAR Tower posed many structural challenges due to its location in the seismically active Absheron Peninsula – similar to the West Coast of the US. This name of this area in Baku means “wind-pounded city,” as the wind loads are high, like the Alaskan coastal region. There was confusion about which design criteria/codes to apply to new high-rise projects in Baku before the Azerbaijan Seismic Building Code was published in 2010. This presentation detailed the general structural design approaches used for the SOCAR Tower, as well as the optimization of the superstructure and foundation system.

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