Gallery: Azerbaijan’s Carbon Neutral Zira Island


Zira Island is a 1,000,000 sq meter island In the Caspian Sea that will soon be developed into an incredible eco-community and sustainably built resort. Master-planned by Denmark-based BIG Architects, the carbon-neutral eco-island is based on the seven peaks of Azerbaijan and its mountainous ecosystems. Located in the bay of the capital city Baku, Zira Island is a ferry ride away from a growing metropolis and will stand as an example to a region so dependent on oil, that it is possible to live off the wind and sun.

BIG Architects‘ Zira Island will feature seven major structures modeled after the peaks of Azerbaijan that are connected by trails, greenbelts and the coastline. The Seven Peaks will each house a residential development and public space, and there will also be 300 private villas near a golf course in the central valley. Zira’s new skyline of organic buildings will resemble a mountain range that merges with the natural topography of the island.

Many carbon neutral communities are currently being developed around the world, like Masdar, Rioja, and Dongtan. All promise a new way of life completely independent of carbon-based fuels. Zira Island is less of a city and more or a resort, but it still holds the same promises of sustainability and will use the sun, wind and water to heat and power the island.

Heat pumps, which plunge into the surrounding Caspian Sea, will heat and cool the buildings on the island, and Solar Hot Water Collectors are integrated into the architecture to provide hot water. Photovoltaics on strategically angled facades and roof tops will generate electricity, and an off-shore wind farm will be constructed in the Caspian Sea, utilizing the existing oil platforms and foundations for the new and more sustainable power supply.

Potable water will be provided via a desalination plant, while waste and stormwater will be collected in a wastewater treatment plant and recycled for irrigation. The solid waste will be composted and reused as fertilizer for the island. Many trees and lots of lush vegetation will be planted to create a tropical environment, although no information is provided for how the island will deal with their trash or whether or not they will grow any of their own food.

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  1. josh... October 18, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    I can do same cartoons too..anyone asked them when they\’ll going to construct one of this buildings? and where Azerbaijan get so much money for this?!

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  3. nofelix February 14, 2009 at 8:20 am

    I like the mountains too, I think. If they make a natural looking skyline that’s fantastic, although I don’t know if my eyes would be fooled into thinking they weren’t big piles of metal.

    I like their site layout plan a lot, very nicely drawn. Cute even.

  4. beril_o February 6, 2009 at 9:38 am

    actually i find it very interesting. only problem is i dont agree with turning Azerbaijan-Baku into another little Dubai with all this extra modern designed buildings. anyway form follows function yes but also organic design is very much welcomed!

  5. jomegared February 5, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    I am not going to dispute your artistic taste my friend. In my opinion this is ugly as hell. It just reminds me of some ugly urban theme park. If the project did go through it should reference Gehry’s Disney concert hall. The shiny metallic material will surely blind anyone and everyone who goes there. The reflections will be horrible. But if they do cover the facades with solar panels that might take care of that problem. The sustainable side of this project is really cool. I just cant stand projects designed to ‘represent the mountains ‘ or some other artistic crap. Form follows function baby!

  6. Paul Boakes February 3, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    Nice rendering, but how on earth can anyone afford to carry this out. Even if it got built, what are the chances it would end up looking this good?

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