Ma Yansong of MAD recently presented a 600,000 square meter urban design proposal for the city of Nanjing titled, “Shanshui Experiment Complex,” at the 2013 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism / Architecture in Shenzhen, China. The concept takes into account the culture, nature and history of Nanjing while reconsidering the methodology in which Chinese cities are built.
MAD created a vegetated, public space that spans the ground level of the urban site, weaving in and out of mid- to high-rise buildings. “Nature” and “man-made” landscapes merge together clouding the distinction between the two. “The [project],” explains Ma Yansong, “rethinks how we define the boundary between nature and the built urban environment. Is it possible,” he asks, “to combine high-density city living with the atmosphere of nature?”
Yasong’s vision of a natural urban environment calls upon traditional Chinese values, veering away from a purely functionalist approach to city-making. Thus, the rigidness of the “box” is replaced with flowing lines that rhythmically rise to create a series of smooth spaces and volumes resulting in a more natural (looking) skyline.
Our ancients perceived this “artistic mood” to be inherent in nature, he says. Other projects such as Chaoyang Park and Harbin Cultural Center exemplify this conviction of growing (as opposed to building) holistic cities.
Watch ArchDaily’s interview of Ma Yansong earlier this year.
Learn more on the 2013 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism / Architecture in Shenzhen.