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Eye On Azerbaijan: Island Master Plan Says Eff Off, Carbon!

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While it's true that Curbed doesn't get out to the young post-Soviet nation of Azerbaijan very often (or ever), if they keep churning out archicrazy like this, we might have to go in on a timeshare. Danish architects Bjarke Ingels Group have designed an ambitious master plan for a carbon neutral resort on Zira Island on the Caspian Sea. It's less a master plan than a city-sized resort that looks like mountains. Really, with 10.7 million square feet to plan, what else would you do? There is the usual arrangements of resort awesomeness, with artificial lakes, beaches and hotels, so the party never sets. See it for yourself in this long slideshow of rendering after rendering filled with lens flares, gigantic buildings, and resort-goers in their native carbon-neutral habitat. It's almost Roosevelt Islandish!

Like Norman Foster's plan for the carbon neutral Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, the carbon neutral claim is suspect (or in press release terms: "ambitious") because it's not clear how carbon neutral will be achieved. Wealth built on oil is now funding an eco-project to burnish their nation's brand name. But are they including the carbon footprints of all the flights for the thousands of daily jetsetters needed to support a resort like this? One difference from Masdar is that being a resort, Zira Island doesn't need to include industry in its calculation (Masdar simply keeps industry out of the city limits). The other thing Zira has going for it is its power generation isn't fudging the books like Masdar (which will use some 'dirty' power plants out of town to help power it up). Whatever their carbon footprint achievements turn out to be, Zira Island, if built, will be the most awesome playground mountain on earth.
· Zira Island [big.dk]