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29 August 2007

Comments

Tooomz

Yeah this is the second building that has collapsed that I've heard of in the past year. My brother is staying down the street from where the building collapsed and told me about it when it happened. It's very worrying.

phyek

It's not like this is the first or the last time, unfortunately. I don't think the officials are shocked at all. Otherwise, Soviet era buildings have been standing for decades even in disrepair. I'll take a Soviet building over a Turkish one any day.

carpetblogger

Those Brezhnev-era buildings are standing only because there hasn't been any serious earth movements. I wouldn't live in one of them, either.

Vagabondblogger

I am very curious as to where this building was located. I read construction started in 2002, when I had just moved there. Anyone know?

carpetblogger

The Producer reports it's right across from the Caspian Business Plaza, on the left side, if you're going uphill.

If you haven't been to Baku in a while, you wouldn't recognize that area. There are at least half a dozen new high rises.

Vagabondblogger

Probably not.

I am not surprised, and worried that some friends in high rises above the old city, could face the same fate. We lived in Bay Holdings, and had huge cracks below the outside of our dining room windows. Needless to say, all the explanations were total bull, our driver kept telling me he thought it was unsafe and, of course, I worried constantly about earthquakes, etc. Thank god we got out of there when we did. Exxon pulled all of their personnel out, after the 2001 earthquake.

Speaking of bad construction, I hear the Burj Dubai already has cracks within it's foundational structure, and deep thinking as to how to go about fixing it - somewhat like having your teeth filled I'm told (I've also had my fillings fall out.) Emaar, the developers have had problems too, so don't overlook them on the list of crappy construction.

carpetblogger

All these articles that talk about "law violations" kill me. The only people who think that there are laws to violate in Azerbaijan are people who haven't spent much time in Azerbaijan.

I worked on the 13th floor of the Caspian Business Plaza and I always hoped the earthquake wouldn't happen during working hours. I speculated on whether it would be better to be on the 13th floor and ride the heap of rubble down, or be lower down and just be a pancake. Thankfully, I now live in a wooden house in Istanbul that's been standing for 100 years. As a Northridge '94 survivor, I feel pretty confident I will survive Istanbul's big one. It would be nice if the Producer was not still living in that hole.

Vagabondblogger

Hey, exactly - top or bottom of the heap. I was in Alaska (where they build sturdy houses, these days - I'm guessing) when we had a 6.6 earthquake, both ways (apparently rumble and ahhh, the boat thing - floating from one side to the other, while your blinds are opposite - makes you sea sick for sure) and waking up periodically to middle of the night quakes (just like having an automatic vibrator on your bed).

So in Baku, when I looked at my windows (and I didn't have much of a choice) I just thought - kiss your ass good-bye and get it over with!

Btw, where (like what streets) is the Caspian Business Center located - maybe I passed it and just never knew!

carpetblogger

Caspian Business Plaza is on Jabar Jabarli, going up the hill toward the Hyatt. It's right before you get to the Hyatt. I imagine that the collapse was on one of the side streets that go to the left, as if you were taking the shortcut to Yeni Dunya. The Caspian Business Plaza probably wasn't there in 2002, but I think the Caspian Business Center, a smaller, bluish building right next door, was there then.

phyek

Sorry, but the difference is that Soviet and older buildings stand while the Turkish ones crumble before they're even finished.

Unfortunately, looking at the devastation that occurred in Izmit, I don't see how Istanbul is better off...though I hope I'm wrong. Otherwise, Baku is plagued by poor construction, corruption, etc., but from time to time, structures fail no matter where in the world. The bridge collapse in Minnesota earlier this month is one example.

Ex expat

I was posted to Baku in 2001 and was there until 2006. The first building that I lived in was the old KGB building on the Boulevard. It was sound but the 'bolt on' bits that owners had added and most of the crumbling balconies looked very suspect, as did all of the electrical installations. I later lived in two high rise buildings in the area of the building collapse - in the vicinity of the New World supermarket - an area populated by a large expat community. Watching the the massive amount of development taking place, you could not help but notice that attractive facing stonework was hiding some awful looking structures.

Vagabondblogger

Okay, I know of that area. I think we ended up taking one of those side roads when the road behind the Seaview apartments closed.

How about the Seaview apartments? Talk about questionable - downright scary. The road behind it cracked open, the government evacuated everyone, except the expats living in the Seaview, since they should have been evacuated by their companies. They weren't. That road was closed for like 9 months - it was still closed when we left. It was caused by nearby construction.

Even though we were shown high rise apartments with views of the pyramids and the Nile, we opted for a dumpy looking older building here in Maadi, Cairo. We lost our taste for high rises in Baku (totally hated it.) After moving around a lot, and past experience, you can tell when certain safety features are just an afterthought. In some instances, they're a joke.

Ben

There is not a great choice for most of us expats -if we can't have Stonepay and other houses starting at $4000 the high rises it is.

Vagabondblogger

OMG! Ben -did you say Stonepay? That little Wisteria Lane facade that overlooks a drained lake and refugee camps? Out in the middle of nowhere? You are kidding, of course - you have to be. If BP weren't so f-ing cheap, they would provide better housing for their employees. Stonepay is a joke. It may not be the high rise you are referring to , like Bay Holdings and Seaview, but what have you out there? A twisted little community of one-up-manship and competition, complete with a Queen Bee. Where can you walk? Nowhere! You need a driver for everything - life in one major shit-hole. Don't get me started. Exxon moved everyone out of Bay Holdings after the 2001 earthquake, and built villas in the city (near the Hyatt). If you work for BP, ask yourself, or even your driver (or man on the street) why that is. Exxon doesn't give a shit about ecology, but when it comes to their employees, the story is different. BP claims to be green, but they don't give a squat about their workers! (Look at their recent track record.)

If you are one of them, then you should be asking yourself what is going on. Oh, and out there, at Stonepay, I bet you get a real taste of Azeri society too - all nice with the green grass growing, dogs running around, barbecues on the front lawn along with wood play stations for the kids - all complete in a little haven, away from the masses. My guess is the houses at Stonepay are as good as anything else being built in Baku right now, which is questionable.

As for the Global Voices post: Tell us all something we didn't already know.

Sorry, the mention of Stonepay, makes my blood boil.

carpetblogger

But... But.. But.. At Stonepay there's a raging swinging scene!

I mean, I've heard that.

Vagabondblogger

Yeah, I know! - I've heard about the hotwiffers too, out on the balcony filming their wives with another dude, doing you-know-what. I do have to admit, the scene out there does sound pretty interesting.

Ben

I never said I lived at Stonepay dont get the chance too so your rant was wasted on me.I dont have a driver or maid and can't speak the language .I live in the middle of town in a high rise a lot higher than the 2 you mentioned Im not Bp or exxon so I must be a "Contractor" or thats how I get intoduced to people .

Vagabondblogger

Well, it was just as you said, "a rant" on my part, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try new and interesting things, either (I did hear Stone Pay is swingin', if you're into that sort of thing. - okay?)

I apologize, and in no way should you take it personally. I just have a problem with bp safety standards, and I admit, it pisses me off - piss as in makes me angry. But, regardless, please take my advice on the housing issue - even if you are a contractor, and happen to become employed with bp, and they happen to offer you housing, then you are a few steps ahead of all the others.

That's it, I'm sorry if my "rant" rubbed you the wrong way.

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