Zero Energy Zira


Zira Island is the master plan conceived by Danish architects Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) for an energy independent and low impact residential and resort city modeled after the seven peaks of Azerbaijan.

Located in the Caspian Sea off the coast of Azerbaijan's capital city Baku, Zira Island is the realization of "high-end living with low end resource usage."  Each of the seven peaks will contain a unique residential development based on the geography of one of Azerbaijan's famous mountains.  The design intends to unify public and private spheres, connecting a series of resort villages to the dense urban center via a central valley and continuous hiking path that meanders through the city and allows access to each of the peaks.

According to Bjarke Ingels, the founding partner of BIG, Zira Island "is an architectural landscape based on the natural landscape of Azerbaijan. This new architecture not only recreates the iconic silhouettes of the seven peaks, but more importantly creates an autonomous ecosystem where the flow of air, water, heat and energy are channeled in almost natural ways. A mountain creates biotopes and eco-niches, it channels water and stores heat, it provides viewpoints and valleys, access and shelter. The Seven Peaks of Azerbaijan are not only metaphors, but actual living models of the mountainous ecosystems of Azerbaijan."

In its attempts to reach full sustainability, Zira Island will implement a number of innovations including: strategically placed photovoltaic cells and solar panels used for gathering energy that feeds heating/cooling pumps connected throughout the city, a storm and waste water circuit that recycles water for irrigation and turns solid waste into fertilizer, an extensive offshore windfarm, and ergonomically designed architecture derived from the natural ecology and microclimates created by the mountains.

Zira Island will be featured as part of the "Yes is More" exhibit in Copenhagen at the Danish Architecture Center opening on February 20th.  Here is a slide show detailing this most fascinating project.

All images courtesy of BIG