China Wood Sculpture Museum / MAD Architects

© Xiazhi

Architects: MAD Architects Location: , China Director In Charge: Ma Yansong, Dang Qun Design Team: Yu Kui, Daniel Gillen, Bas van Wylick, Diego Perez, Jordan Kanter, Huang Wei, Julian Sattler, Liu Weiwei, Tang Liu, Mao Peihong, Maria Alejandra Obregon, Nickolas Urano, Gus Chan, Shin Park, Alejandro Gonzalez Area: 12,959 sqm Year: 2013 Photographs: Xiazhi, Iwan Baan

Associate Engineers: The Architectural Design and Research Institute of Harbin Institute of Technology Curtain Wall Consultant: Inhabit Group Panel Optimization: Gehry Technologies Steel Structure Contractor: Zhejiang Jing Gong Steel Structure Co. Ltd

© Iwan Baan

Appearing so evident amidst a thriving metropolitan district of Harbin, China, spanning 200 meters in length, the China Wood Sculpture Museum sits as a locational anomaly, seemingly out of place, surrounded by a densely populated Chinese-style neighborhood and residential complexes. The museum embodies some of the foremost conceptual and formal ideals that define the work of MAD, bringing out an expression and abstraction of nature to an otherwise quotidian surrounding. The boundaries between solid and liquid are blurred throughout this 13,000 sqm building, referencing the local natural scenery and landscape.

© Iwan Baan

The building’s exterior is covered by polished steel plates, mirroring the surroundings and the changing light. The solid walls ensure minimal heat loss while the breaking and twisting motion of the emerging skylights splits the surface and allows in light from the low-hanging sun of northern China; this provides sufficient natural diffused illumination to the three halls on the interior.

© Iwan Baan

The museum mainly houses local wood sculptures as well as paintings depicting the ice and snow of the regional scenery. In the context of the large-scale modern urban setting, the museum itself serves as a new interpretation of nature. The surreal interaction between the museum and the city breaks through the tedium of the urban shell, revitalizing the surroundings with a new cultural feature.


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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "China Wood Sculpture Museum / MAD Architects" 11 Apr 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 29 May 2015. <>
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  • yon

    what a joke!

  • Sven Scholz

    love the sketch!

    • Heywood Floyd

      Thats what computers do to people.

  • sara

    well I know Koolhaas said somewhere once “F*ck the context”, but in this case seems that the context f*cks the project!

  • david

    yeah whatsup with the sketch? hahaha

    • Constantin Eugen Cozma

      Its a conceptual sketch. A fast rough representation of a mental image. It suggests a turbulence, a kind of happening in the middle of the geometry.

  • Laurent

    the guy had a vision: he sketched it.
    the guy gave the sketch to that 3d intern who can do parametrics and told him: “i had this vision, can you model it?”
    the 3d intern made it happen, as simply as that.
    Thank you MAD architects.

    • ran zhang

      You seem to know everything

  • Boohboo

    haha. Yep. I know the intern that did it.

  • Pitchaya Cydonia

    “Wood Sculpture Museum” but made from steel and aluminium composite, MAD logic.

    • Constantin Eugen Cozma

      Why not? Its the logic of negation.

    • ran zhang

      Does a Durex factory need to be built by condoms in your understanding ?

  • Marcelo

    I live in Harbin, I have a car, and yesterday I drove almost a couple of hours around the Ice City and found no museum! I tried the tourist bureau and they don’t even know what that building is, so, please, anyone, give us the address of the museum, otherwise it’s almost impossible to get to it. Thank you.


      Marcello. I am looking to find the Harbin Wood Sculpture Museum address too and have found that it is in Qun Li District West of the City, but no more than that.