Crescent Tower in Baku, Azerbaijan. Renderings courtesy Heerim Architects & Planners.

Crescent Tower – Baku Residential Complex



Thornton Tomasetti provided structural and parametric façade design services through design development for two iconic residential towers on a hillside overlooking the Caspian Sea in the Azerbaijani capital. The project consists of 46-story and 37-story residential towers, a two-story podium and three basement levels. The gross building area is approximately 73,602-square-meters above grade and 25,381-square-meters below grade. The towers are approximately 200 meters high with steel-glass crown features at the top.

To resist extreme winds (Baku means “windy city”) and severe seismic forces, a dual system was designed that consisted of a special reinforced concrete (RC) shear wall and a special RC moment frame. The structural floor system combines a two-way 200-millimeter slab and RC beams. The curved towers, inspired by the crescent moon, have special requirements for façade panelization that allow the use of flat quadrangle unitized façade systems with dry silicone gaskets.

The scope of Thornton Tomasetti’s façade engineering work includes all detailing and structural façade calculations for the aluminum-framed curtain walls, aluminum-framed skylights, steel-supported skylights, steel supported canopies, aluminum storefront glass walls, steel-framed glass walls and residential balconies. Parametric modeling tools such as Digital Project/Catia software were used to determine the optimal façade unit geometry, thereby reducing fabrication and erection costs.

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Our façade engineering teams advise clients on the best way to develop both conventional and innovative façade systems, applying our knowledge of structures, glazing technology, mechanical shade systems and thermal behavior. We provide design, detailing and engineering support for enclosures of any shape or size, from minimalist to high-tech. We also provide expertise in safety and security glazing, along with glass frits and reflective coatings.

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A variety of metals are used to wrap a building’s skin: aluminum, stainless steel, copper and zinc are notable examples. Each has its own special characteristics and can be used as rainscreen cladding, open screens, overhead enclosures or decorative elements with an array of possible shapes and configurations. We have used metals in a variety or project types, ranging from new façades to innovative re-cladding of existing structures. Our understanding of each material’s physical properties helps us provide designers with unique solutions that fulfill their design visions.