AD Interviews: Ma Yansong / MAD

While we were in , we had the opportunity to visit an architect who we have been following for quite some time: Ma Yansong, founder of MAD.

Ma Yansong graduated from the Beijing Institute of Civil Engineering and Architecture, and went to Yale thanks to the AIA Scholarship for Advanced Architecture Research, where he received his masters degree in Architecture in 2001. Afterwards, Ma Yansong worked at Zaha Hadid’s office in London, and started MAD in 2004.

His strong research background is mixed with a deeper understanding and interpretation of traditional Chinese architecture, inspired by urban typologies such as the hutong and the siheyua. This can be seen in projects such as the Hutong Bubble, the Wooden Sculpture Museum (under construction) and the recently opened Ordos Art & City Museum. MAD’s vision for Beijing 2050 is a bold proposal that opens up debate, challenging what the future of the CBD (Central Business District, an area populated by tall generic buildings) could be.

Another interesting project is his Absolute Towers in Canada (2006-2012). Not only did the project make Ma Yansong the first Chinese architect to build abroad, it also put his practice on the map.

 Ma Yansong represents a new generation of Chinese architects who have the important task of shaping a forward-looking architecture while at the same time understanding their rapidly growing country’s past. MAD also sponsors a travel scholarship.MAD’s office is located in a hutong neighbourhood in Beijing, where Ma Yansong works with principals Dang Qun and Yosuke Hayano.

Video available at Youku for our Chinese readers.

Projects by MADat ArchDaily:

Sanlitun South / LOT-EK Architecture & Design

© Shu He

Architects: LOT-EK Architecture & Design
Location: ,
Architect In Charge: Ada Tolla, Giuseppe Lignano
Design Team: Keisuke Nibe, Koki Hashimoto, Judith Tse
Client: Guo Feng Development
Consultants: Beijing Architectural & Engineering Design Company
Area: 24,000 sqm
Year: 2008
Photographs: Shu He, Courtesy of LOT-EK Architecture & Design

Tianjin Ecocity Ecology and Planning Museums / Steven Holl Architects

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Rising from the reclaimed salt pan and polluted tide flats of Bohai Bay, China, a new city designed for 350,000 inhabitants is being constructed from scratch. The ambitious project is being realized as a collaboration between the governments of Singapore and China with an overarching goal of becoming a poster-city for state-of-the-art sustainable aspects.

With nearly a third of this new “Eco-City” of Tianjin built and substantial completion projected for 2020, the internationally renowned practice Steven Holl Architects has been commissioned to design the first two buildings in the city’s cultural district: the Tianjin Ecocity Ecology and Planning Museums. Like the Chinese “Bau Gua” or “Yin Yang,” these forms are in reverse relations, as the Ecology is the “additive” complement to the “subtractive” space of the Planning .

Learn more about Holl’s design after the break.

Chongqing Business Center Proposal / United Design Group

Courtesy of United Design Group

Located in the center of the business zone in the Jangbeizui District of Chongquig, , the office building proposal by United Design Group will service the business zone, promote the business condition, enrich the functions of the center, and become the fresh blood of the district. The considerations about the surroundings have been mostly centered on the orientation of the other projects (already under construction) and by the presence of a linear park that will connect the site with the water front where the Grand Theatre is located. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Tangram Theatre Second Prize Winning Proposal / Gras Arquitectos

Courtesy of

With the city of , China lacking their own identity, Gras Arquitectos aims to create a presence and scale with their Tangram Theatre, which won the second prize in the international competition. This mutual need can enable the creation of a new urban icon, an item that addresses a new identity to the city. Historically, the icon of Chinese cities is the pagoda: from the forbidden city to the unknown monument in rural China. The architects intend to create a theatre that becomes a sort of pagoda, icon for the city. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Yingjia Club at Vanke Beijing / Neri & Hu

© Shen Zhonghai

Architects: Neri & Hu Design and Research Office
Location: ,
Year: 2012
Photographs: Shen Zhonghai

Zaha Hadid Seeing Double in China

Wangjing SOHO: East © ZHA

Eleven  projects are currently being constructed in , however one of them has the international architecture mogul seeing double. Unfortunately, Hadid has found herself in a race to finish the Wangjing SOHO office and retail complex in Beijing before pirates complete their doppelgänger version in Chongqing, a megacity near the eastern edge of the Tibetan plateau.

As reported on Spiegel Online, the Dame claimed that the pirates are currently in the lead and building faster than SOHO. The original, which is set for completion in 2014, features three curved towers whose “shimmering”, metallic skin unifies the complex as each volume appears to “dance” around each other.

Hadid is not the first to be mimicked in China. Last year, a small UNESCO-protected village in Austria, Hallstatt, was recreated, brick for brick, in the subtropical district of Guangdong, China. You can find the complete story here.

Tony’s Farm / Playze

© Bartosz Kolonko

Architects: Playze
Location: ,
Team: Mengjia He, Pascal Berger, Marc Schmit, Meijun wu, Liv Xu Ye, Ahmed Hosny, Andres Tovar, Sebastian Hefti, Maggie Tang
Area: 1,060 sqm
Year: 2011
Photographs: Bartosz Kolonko

Hanking Nanyou Newtown Urban Planning Design Proposal / Jaeger and Partner Architects

Courtesy of

Jaeger and Partner Architects shared with us their Hanking Nanyou Newtown Urban Design proposal for the renovation of a parcel of Nanyou in Nanshan District, . Their concept focuses on creating a ‘multi-functional ring’ which combines the planning theories of the compact city, green city, and digital city. Acting as a unifying element, the multi-functional ring at the site’s core is a prominent feature of the design, providing the best site accessibility solution to an otherwise difficult to manage site. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas to design Cultural Center in Chengdu

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Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas has been announced as winner of an international competition to design and construct the first cultural center in , China. In their winning proposal, Fuksas combined four, elliptical shaped buildings with a spiral structure to create an inclusive artist complex that offers a center for the performing arts, a cultural center, offices Writer and Literary Association, and an apartment building for artists.

Learn more about the Chengdu Tianfu Cultural and Performance Center after the break.

Video: Wuhao Curated Shop, Shop Profile


The WUHAO Curated Shop is a modern approximation of a classical Chinese garden, located in one of ’s richest historical districts. Having shown at Design Week and the Milan Furniture Fair, offers a contemporary vision of the classical Chinese garden while also nurturing the work of emerging Chinese designers and international talents. Founder and curator Isabelle Pascal shares her first encounter with the ancient courtyard and explains how the experience inspired the collections she curates today.

Yalong Bay Headquarters of COFCO / Zhubo Design Zstudio

© Su Shengliang

Architects: Zhubo Design Zstudio
Location: Yalong Bay, Sanya, , 572016
Design Director: Zhong Qiao
Project Director: Zhang Tiantian
Architecture Designers: Zhang Biqin,Li Jing, Feng Qian
Collaborator: Zhubo Design Company
Area: 3,3400 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Su Shengliang

Wuhan Marine Science and Research Tower Proposal / ACID + AaL + Studio méta-

Courtesy of + AaL + Studio méta-

Designed for a marine based company, the design by ACID (Advanced Construction Information Development Co., Ltd) + AaL (Advance Architecture Lab) + Studio méta- creates an iconic architectural representation of their day to day business. The architects were interested in a frozen expression of twisting water and the idea of this movement with relation to the core business of their client. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Tianjin Hotel Proposal / HAO

Courtesy of (Holm Architecture Office)

The hotel concept for the five-star hotel in , China incorporates the traditional hotel amenities such as conference rooms, restaurants, and fitness areas with a vibrant gallery for art and changing exhibitions showcasing local and international artists. Designed by HAO/Holm Architecture Office, the building orients the building mass to create better views towards downtown Tianjin while curving back part of the volume to create a covered area for the hotel entrance and drop-off. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Nike Pop Up Showroom / Maggie Peng & Albert Tien

© Jonathan Leijonhufvud

Architects: Maggie Peng , Albert Tien
Location: Beijing, China
Design Team: ,
Year: 2012
Photographs: Jonathan Leijonhufvud

KPF Releases Masterplan for Chinese City Built From Scratch

Courtesy of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF)

International architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF) recently announced that their design for the 120 million square foot master plan for Meixi Lake in , is being realized. A new city in the West Pioneer Zone in Hunan Province, Meixi Lake is centered around a 3.85 kilometer‐long lake. Upon completion, the city will be home to 180,000 inhabitants, and will provide residents, workers and visitors sustainable neighborhoods for living, working, recreation, culture and entertainment. More images and architects’ press release after the break.

Dual Tower for the High-Tech and Research Campus First Prize Winning Proposal / KSP Jürgen Engel Architekten

Courtesy of KSP Jürgen Engel Architekten

KSP Jürgen Engel Architekten was just awarded the first prize for their design of the Dual Tower for the High-Tech and Research Campus in , . The 170-meter high dual tower denotes the start of the new business district in the south of the city, a prefecture-level city in the southern Chinese province Guangdong. Its exposed location, height, and function in the urban fabric as the first building on the Sino-German High-Tech and Research Campus means that the dual tower is conceived as a landmark. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Architects Selected/Shortlisted for West Kowloon Cultural District

Foster + Partners’ Masterplan for the West Kowloon Cultural District, entitled City Park. © Foster + Partners, by Methanoia

The WKCDA () has made two big announcements today: (1) the winners of the competition to design the Xiqu Center, what will be the District’s first landmark building; and (2) the shortlist of six architects who will compete to design the M+ for Visual Culture. The and Center are part of a Masterplan, designed by Foster + Partners, to transform Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District into a world-class destination for arts and culture.

Hong-Kong born architects Bing Thom and Ronald Lu (of Bing Thom Architects and Ronald Lu & Partners) beat out the Master-planners themselves, Foster +  Partners, to design the Xiqu Center, the “gateway of access” to the district, scheduled for commissioning in 2016.

The designer for the M+ Museum has yet to be determined, however, and, judging by the 6 world-famous architectural firms shortlisted, the competition is sure to be fierce.

Find out the complete list of architects, including Herzog & de Meuron and SNOHETTA, who will compete to design the M+ Museum, after the break…