Displayed earlier this month in a Qing Dynasty courtyard garden at Wu Hao in Beijing, Ma Yansong‘s ‘Shanshui City exhibition featured more than twenty architectural models and works of art that are scattered around the ancient courtyard. Among rocks, screen walls, bamboo groves, pools of water and beneath the sky, the scale of each piece varies and collectively they form a futuristic utopian urban landscape. The newly issued book “Shanshui City” – released simultaneously with the exhibition – is an important turning point for Ma Yansong’s ten years of architectural practice and theory. More images and information on the exhibition after the break.
The pieces on display range from a fish tank to the conceptual model of the “Shanshui City” which represents a proposal of hundreds of thousands of square meters in size. To Ma Yansong, Shanshui does not just refer to nature; it is also the individual’s emotional response to the surrounding world. “Shanshui City” is a combination of city density, functionality and the artistic conception of natural landscape. It aims at composing a future city that takes human spirit and emotion at their cores.
In the book, he says: “The city of the future development will be shifted from the pursuit of material civilization to the pursuit of nature. This is what happens after human beings experience industrial civilization at the expense of the natural environment. The emotional harmonious relationship between nature and man will be rebuilt upon the ‘Shanshui City.’” This small brochure illustrates the young Chinese architect’s ideals concerning futuristic habitation. “It would be a great pity if the vigorous urbanization could not breed new urban civilization and ideal.”
In the opening forum of “Shanshui City,” a round-table dialogue was held with the participation of Liu Xiaochun, Li Xianting, Bao Pao, Wang Mingxian, Jin Qiuye and Ma Yansong, leading to be, undoubtedly, a historic moment. Perhaps the “Shanshui City” ideology is the very progress that China’s urbanization can contribute to the world.