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LACMA Distinguished Architects Lecture Series: Ma Yansong, MAD Architects

Beijing-born architect Ma Yansong, founder and principal of MAD Architects, will be delivering a lecture at LACMA on September 15th at 7:30pm. He will discuss his work and his concept of "Shanshui City," which is his vision to create a new balance between society, the city, and the environment through new forms of architecture. Ma is recognized as an important voice in the new generation of architects with projects in Asia, Europe, Canada, and the US. Works include Absolute Towers; Beijing 2050; China Wood Sculpture Museum; Harbin Cultural Island; Hutong Bubble 32; Ordos Museum; and Pingtan Art Museum.

MAD Architects Unveil Their First US Residential Project

MAD Architects has unveiled what will be their first US residential project, 8600 Wilshire. Planned to be built in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, the 18-unit "hillside village" will be perched atop commercial space and united by a water-efficient "living wall" that was inspired by the local flora.

As MAD says, the project "demonstrates founder Ma Yansong’s core design philosophy: to coalesce nature and community into a living environment among high-density cities." It is expected to break ground this October, and complete in 2016. 

Gehry Sides with MAD, Defends Lucas Museum from Critics

With criticism forcing progress on MAD’s “mountainous” Lucas Museum to come to a standstill, Frank Gehry has released a statement on the Chicago Tribune urging critics to “take the proper time to review” the museum before dismissing it. 

“Chicago is a great city for architecture and has historically supported innovative, forward-looking work. There is a natural impulse to deride a project in the early stages of design, particularly one that has a new shape or expression. This is not a new concept,” says Gehry, citing that both the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and Los Angeles Walt Disney Concert Hall were shrouded in criticism before becoming “great assets to their mutual cities.”

MAD Architects Unveils Mountainous Design for Lucas Museum in Chicago

The design for Chicago's Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts has been revealed, with MAD Architects unveiling their plans for a sculptural white "mountain," rising from the site to be topped by a metallic crown. Designed as a landscape that can be approached from all sides, with the main entrance located on a 'floating' public plaza accessed via a network of ramps and steps, the building is organized around a central domed lobby and events space, with four stories of gallery spaces, a set of four theaters, and at the top of the building an observation deck and glass-encased restaurant. In a connected, smaller "mountain" are the building's educational functions, with classrooms, lecture theaters and a library.

Speaking to ArchDaily from Chicago, director of MAD Architects Ma Yansong explained how he wanted the design "to be futuristic but at the same time to be natural," connecting with the landscape of the waterfront site.

More about the design from Ma Yansong after the break

Why China's President Says "No More Weird Buildings"

The President of the People's Republic of China, Xi Jinping, has reportedly called for an end to the "weird buildings" being built in China, and particularly in the nation's capital, Beijing. In a two hour speech at a literary symposium in Beijing last week, Mr Xi expressed his views that art should serve the people and be morally inspiring, identifying architectural projects such as OMA's CCTV Headquarters as the kind of building that should no longer be constructed in Beijing.

With China's construction boom being one of the most talked about features of today's architecture scene - and many a Western practice relying on their extravagant projects to prop up their studios - the Chinese leader's comments have the potential to affect the landscape of architectural practice worldwide. But what is behind these sentiments? Read on after the break to find out.

Interview: Ma Yansong on "Silhouette Shanshui" at the Venice Biennale

MAD Architects' "Silhouette Shanshui" - which lies somewhere between an installation and a model - is currently on display at the 14th Venice Biennale. The inspiration for the project is the firm's Nanjing Zendai Himalayas Center, a master plan with an overall area of 560,000 sqm that challenges how modern development is typically thought of in China. According to Ma Yansong, the founder of MAD Architects, the city-scale urban project is already underway with 13 towers under construction.

MAD Architects + Studio Gang Selected for Chicago's George Lucas Museum

After the controversy surrounding their rejection by San Francisco and subsequent relocation to Chicago, the Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts has today announced a team of MAD Architects and Studio Gang as the designers of their new building in Chicago's museum district near Northerly Island.

The building itself will be designed by MAD Architects, chosen "because of its innovative approach to design and the firm’s philosophy of connecting urban spaces to natural landscapes." In this case, that landscape will be designed by Studio Gang, who will also add a bridge to Northerly Island, an area which they have worked on turning into an ecologically diverse urban park.

Ma Yansong Listed as Top 100 Most Creative in Business

2014 seems to be the year of Ma Yansong, as the founder of MAD Architects, who was recently named a Young Global Leader, has now been listed as one of the top 100 most creative people in business by Fast Company. Ranked at 53, the Beijing-based architect was the only architect featured on the list. 

An Interview with MAD Architects' Ma Yansong: Constructing Icons, Identity & China's Future Cities

I look into myself, trying to express myself. I think sometimes maybe you have an idea from a dream. It sounds ridiculous but you draw something out of your dream. Where does this dream come from? It must somehow relate to some situation. So what I'm interested in is to keep discovering what is really inside of me. I'm not a genius that from the first moment I already know what I want. - Ma Yansong -

Beixinqiao district, in Beijing, is changing fast: the ancient urban tissue is being demolished as new high-rises are growing.Located in this environment, Ma Yansong’s office sits within an old and anonymous construction. In contrast to its exterior, the inside is characterized by wood, white walls and plants that transform the place into a sophisticated environment.International young architects are busy modeling new organic-shaped buildings on the other side of the world; meanwhile a golden fish swims in the eternal loop of the “fish tank” in the centre of the room.

In the following interview, Ma Yansong explains contemporary cities as environments that are out-of-scale with nature. He believes a new approach must be used, one that breaks the monotonous “chessboard” of contemporary Urban China and re-establishes the balance between human beings and the natural world.

MAD's Ma Yansong Named 2014 Young Global Leader

Ma Yansong, founder of MAD, has been named the 2014 Young Global Leader. The award, bestowed each year by the World Economic Forum (WEF), aims to "recognize the most distinguished leaders under the age of 40, nominated from around the world." Winning the title from a collection of 214 young leaders from 66 countries, Yansong is the first Chinese architect to be awarded this honour. According to the WEF, Yansong "commits himself to exploring the future of architecture by combining the city density, function, and the spirit of Shanshui, to reconnect the emotional link between human and nature." Watch our interview with Ma Yansong here.

MAD Envisions More 'Natural' Chinese Cities in the Future

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.

AD Interviews: Advice for Young Architects

Since ArchDaily started, we have interviewed close to two hundred architects to understand the diversity of our profession, and to give you insights from the most successful practices in the world. 

AD Interviews: Ma Yansong / MAD

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

Studio Banana TV Interview with Ma Yansong / MAD architects

Beijing-born architect Ma Yansong has become an important, emerging voice to a new generation of architects. Shortly after establishing MAD architects in 2004, his practice earned worldwide attention (2006) by winning an international competition to design a residential tower near Toronto, expected to be completed in the summer of 2012. In this interview with Studio Banana TV, Yansong discusses a few of his latest works, including MAD’s first museum completed last year in Ordos, Inner Mongolia. Continue reading for more information.Ma Yansong graduated from Beijing Institute of Civil Engineering and Architecture. In 2001, Ma attended Yale University, after receiving the American Institute of Architects Scholarship for Advanced Architecture Research in 2001, where he holds a masters degree in Architecture. He has since taught architecture at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing.Ma Yansong was awarded the 2006 Architecture League Young Architects Award. In 2008, he was selected as one of the twenty most influential Young Architects today by ICON magazine and Fast Company named him one of the ten most creative people in architecture in 2009. In 2010 he became the first architect from China to receive a RIBA fellowship.More articles regarding MAD architects here on ArchDaily: Ordos Art & City Museum / MAD Architects Beijing Hutong Bubble / MAD Update: Absolute Towers / MAD Architects Wood Sculpture Museum / MAD Architects Urban Forest / MAD Architects Monster Footprints / MAD Taichung Convention Center / MAD Architects n Progress: Conrad Hotel by MAD Al Rostamini Headquarters / MAD Interview by Studio Banana TV. Translation by Noelia Correa.