At first glance, it seems as if the architects took inspiration for the new congress centre from a Star Wars movie. It’s as if one of the spaceships landed in the centre of Baku, sparking interest for alien technology in the locals. Technology is something the Baku Convention Centre certainly does not lack. It could be considered one of the most advanced and well-equipped congress centres in the world. From super-capable theatre and stage technology and digitalisation throughout to sustainable management and ecological measures. At the same time, this spaceship is cosy, bright, airy and capable of making every guest feel relaxed. Futuristic extravagance is just the cherry on top.
Mediocrity, standardness and adequacy just don’t cut it in Baku. Architects from the Austrian Coop Himmelb(l)au bureau have created a non-generic story that is very special, but very functional at the same time. It’s a manly contrast to its more feminine neighbour, the Heydar Aliyev Centre designed by Zaha Hadid. There is tension between the two impeccable buildings and that will not fail to make an impression on you. The two buildings can be understood as a peculiar architectural yin and yang that is the backbone of Baku’s meetings offer. The inspiring dialogue is part of an unforgettable experience.
If the neighbouring Heydar Aliyev Centre is all about form, the Baku Convention Centre focuses much more on function. Functional excellence is what makes it interesting. The Austrian architects who designed the place are known for creating very user-friendly solutions. There is constant oscillation between bright and dark, interior and exterior, formal and informal. The latter is what the designers opened up quite a lot of space for. There is a large lounge that serves as a command station, where guests come for coffee breaks, a chat or some rest. The spaces in front of and in between the halls are all very large, which is a big advantage, as competing congress centres lack that kind of functionality.
One of the largest LED screens in the world with a total surface of 405 sqm is the first thing you see when you step through the front door. At the time of our visit, a car launch presentation was running on the screen and the image quality was stellar, as information is distributed through 50 intelligent screens. “Gala Venue” developed one of the most complex systems of elevators for changing the setup in the main conference hall. You can completely change the design of the hall in just 15 minutes. An in-house banquet kitchen is designed to serve food for over 1500 participants. Huge lighting elements in the ceiling can be transformed into projection screens and JBL speakers throughout the facility provide superior sound. Simply put, the Convention Centre is technologically superior.
The main hall
The Auditorium is the crown jewel of the Centre. It can accept up to 3500 participants, boasting impressive acoustics and top-of-the-line technical equipment. There are 2300 stalls seats and an additional 1200 on the balcony. It features movable seating and a retractable floor system, enabling multiple configurations: a theatre layout, a banquet layout and a layout for several possibilities for simultaneous performances. Thanks to the sliding walls of the auditorium, one can go directly from the foyer to the expo area crossing the main hall.
When it comes to sustainability, Baku talks the talk, but also walks the walk. There are solar panels on the massive roof and LED lights have been used from the very beginning. A ton of green policies have been adopted by the Centre and recycling and smart energy management are self-evident. Looking at the country’s abundance of non-renewable energy sources, this kind of approach is quite surprising and very positive.
In the last couple of years, Baku has gained plenty of experience in hosting challenging international events. The staff consists of a young team of professionals who really know what they are doing. The Centre immediately became a member of international associations like the ICCA, AIPC and many others. The team has been through quite a lot of events demanding the toughest protocol which shows they know how to handle all organisational circumstances.
The Baku Convention Centre is a multi-tasker. It is capable of hosting large conferences, concerts, corporate events, statemen’s meetings, product launches and gala receptions.
Space is something you won’t have to worry about and the same goes for equipment. The Centre is functionally perfect and participants will certainly appreciate your choice of venue. It is a congress centre of the digital generation, which will make it stay competitive for a long time.
Some big events that have taken place in Baku Convention Centre
- Asian Development Bank Annual Meeting, May 2015
- UNAOC Forum 2016, April 2016
- Second Academic Forum of UNESCO Chairs, May 2017
- 41st World Scout Conference, August 2017
- 18th Mid-Term Ministerial Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
– Gross Floor Area 30,599 m2
– Net Floor Area 25,499 m2
– Capacity Auditorium 3500 seats
– Number of conference rooms 16
– Number of permanent office premises and facilities 73