Turkish architecture studio Autoban has designed giant wooden cocoons for the interior of the new international terminal at Baku airport in Azerbaijan. Six million passengers a year are expected to enter through the glass bubbles that lead into the full-height check-in area, which is scattered with trees and structural columns.
Taking inspiration from Azerbaijani hospitality, Autoban’s Red Dot award-winning design spans the entirety of the terminal’s passenger spaces, and includes striking custom-made wooden cocoons that create a sense of welcome and discovery, and opportunities to either meet or retreat. At Heydar Aliyev, their bespoke furnishings and lighting schemes upend airport typologies, opting for tactile natural materials such as wood, stone and textiles, gently and warmly lit.
The main idea was to make it different from other airports. While traveling has become a huge part of our lives, we believe as designers it’s our goal to make it as enjoyable as possible for the public by changing the fundamentals of such transportation hubs. The use of the giant wooden cocoons is flexible and it is expected they will change over time as the airport terminal evolves. We adopted the architectural structure of the terminal and played with micro-architecture within the cavernous space to bring it down to a more human scale, so that it felt like a nest – Autoban cofounder Seyhan Ozdemir.
Baku’s airport was renamed in 2004 after former Azerbaijani president Heydar Aliyev, whose name has also been given to the Zaha Hadid-designed cultural centre in the city.