Team members: Pouya Goshayeshi, Daniel Innocente, Steven Park Chaffer, Bing Zhao
Located along the Caspian Sea on Baku’s industrial coastal zone, the Marine Wetlands Ecological Park envisions a new approach to urbanism for the entire country and region. A synthesis between energy systems, natural restoration and environmentally focused urbanism. As Azerbaijan’s largest and fastest growing city, Baku has the potential to lead as symbol for the future of ecological and urban economies. Baku has seen the effects that energy and resource production can have on the natural environment and society. With the city having a deep rooted history in oil energy production and agriculture, its ability to thrive will depend highly on establishing a new infrastructure for energy use, urbanism and ecological systems.
The Caspian Sea including the Baku Bay has been devastated by the city’s dependence on oil industry, with leakages and under treated sewage disposal affecting the waters natural environment. The continued growth of Baku together with environmental concerns poses the challenge of treating infrastructure as a restorative mechanism rather than one which only accommodates growth. Taking advantage of the marine zones natural environment and restorative mechanisms with continuous treatment strategies will provide the city with a renewed and richer experience of natural space. Treatment strategies including constructed wetlands and water treatment will enable the coastline to create a sustained ecosystem that is self-regulating and maintaining. Achieving a natural balance of energy and life which will produce spaces of value for sustainable urbanism and public venues. The proposal includes an interwoven network of programs which celebrate the renewal of natural ecosystems, connected by public circulation and a variety of natural zones. Each renewed zone is articulated through public programs which brings the city to the water’s edge along the continuous experience which will be Baku’s Marine Wetlands Ecological Park.
Our proposal includes three categories of programmatic elements: biological, energy and urban, with biological elements being spaces dedicated to the understanding and maintenance of the wetlands and park ecologies. The biology category is comprised of community gardens, wetlands center, horticultural & water treatment center, botanical gardens, natural science center and aquarium. The energy category will provide and sustain energy systems with an emphasis on using renewable energy and advanced technologies for future growth. The energy components are comprised of solar parks, bio energy facilities, electric transportation and wind farms. The urban category will bring the city and region to the renewed coastal park but also place demands sustained by the biological and energy systems. The urban elements will be comprised of interwoven retail, residential, commercial, performance, swimming, public transportation, marina and parks.
The future of Baku will depend highly on sustained growth and through a balanced approach of natural and urban spaces can integrate natural living systems as mechanisms for renewed relationships with nature. The restorative capacities of wetlands and the profound effects it can have on how resources are treated will bring a new way of living to Baku. This proposal produces a vision of urbanism beyond economic, social and efficiency by introducing and making visible the positive effects of nature on anthropocentric environments.