SOCAR Tower in Baku, Azerbaijan. Courtesy Heerim Architects & Planners.



Located on a 12,000-square-meter site, SOCAR Tower serves as the headquarters for the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic and provides 98,000 square meters of space for offices, guest houses, conference rooms, a sky-lounge, amenities and sufficient underground parking to accommodate employees and visitors. The 40-story, 209-meter tower has an additional two levels below grade and connects to a three-story podium. The tower resembles a flame with its curving façade, which comes to a point at the building’s apex.

Thornton Tomasetti provided structural design services through design development for the tower, including the basement levels, foundation and podium, as well as 100 percent construction documents review and consultation during construction. The tower has a dual lateral structural system consisting of special reinforced concrete shear walls and a special steel moment frame. Baku is located in a heavy seismic zone and has particularly strong winds. The complex geometric shape of the building required sloping columns, mainly at the tower’s top, which when combined with the high seismic and wind loads provided numerous design challenges. The building was designed to international standards for seismic detailing and the design wind speed is 53 meters per second (50-year, three-second gust). A tuned mass damper at the top of the roof ensures a controlled movement of the tower under wind loads to meet the criteria for human comfort.

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