Iwan Baan has unveiled a new series of images depicting a snow-covered Harbin Opera House by MAD Architects and its surrounding landscapes. The northern Chinese city of Harbin is known for its brutal winters where temperatures can reach -22°F (-30°C). In the photographs, the Opera House's sinuous white aluminum cladding echoes the ice formed in the adjacent river. “Harbin is very cold for the most of the year,” says MAD principal and founder Ma Yansong. “I envisioned a building that would blend into the winter landscape as a white snow dune arising from the wetlands.”
In a new film by NOWNESS, Dutch photographer Iwan Baan explains his process for photographing MAD architects’ Harbin Opera House in the northern region of China. The short documentary describes the power of architectural photography and how Baan aims to capture the present moment of a place, instead of creating a timeless scene.
Last week, ArchDaily unveiled the 14 winners of this year’s Building of the Year award. Selected by ArchDaily readers from a pool of over 3,000 candidates, these 14 projects represent the best designs published by ArchDaily in the past year, as determined by an unbiased network of 55,000 voters who took part - each of them a judge in one of the world's most democratic architecture awards.
Representing a diverse field of architects, locations and project types, each design has a very different story about how it came into being, how its design responds to its context, how it fits into an architect's oeuvre, or what it says about the direction which architecture is traveling in. But despite the many different types of story represented, each of the stories behind the Building of the Year winners is a fascinating architectural tale. Here are those 14 stories.
After two weeks of nominations and voting, we are pleased to present the winners of the 2016 ArchDaily Building of the Year Awards. As a peer-based, crowdsourced architecture award, the results shown here represent the collective intelligence of 55,000 voters, filtering the best architecture from over 3,000 projects featured on ArchDaily during the past year.
As is so often the case with the Building of the Year award, the list of winners represents great diversity. It features two Pritzker Prize winners, Renzo Piano and Herzog & de Meuron (the first practice to ever receive two Building of the Year awards in the same year), but also small, young practices such as Tim Greatrex and Elisabete de Oliveira Saldanha. The buildings which garnered these prizes also range in effect: from the tremendous poise demonstrated by projects such as NAP Architects' Ribbon Chapel and MAD's Harbin Opera House to the rustic charms of Terra e Tuma Arquitetos' Vila Matilde House or Sharon Davis Design's Partners In Health Dormitory.
By publishing them on ArchDaily, these exemplary buildings have helped us to impart inspiration and knowledge to architects around the world, furthering our mission. So to everyone who participated by either nominating or voting for a shortlisted project, thank you for being a part of this amazing process, where the voices of architects from all over the world unite to form one strong, intelligent, forward-thinking message.
And of course, congratulations to all the winners!
The Chicago City Council has voted to approve zoning for George Lucas' controversial, MAD-designed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. Planned for a lakefront site on Chicago's Museum Campus park, near the Shedd Aquarium and Field Museum, the "mountainous" design faced opposition from environmentalists who claim the building is a "confiscation of public land." Despite this, and according to reports on NBC News, the Star Wars director won the Council's approval by promising more parking and tailgating space to Chicago Bears fans.
“The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will be an incredible addition to Chicago’s Museum Campus,” said Mayor Emanuel in an official statement. “The Lucas Museum will join the 56 other museums in Chicago to provide new cultural and educational benefits for generations to come. And the new parkland will add more open greenspace that will be enjoyed by residents across the city.”
Ma Yansong, Founder and Principle Partner of MAD Architects, will launch his most recent book Shanshui City on October 13th at The Architecture & Design Museum, Los Angeles. The free event will begin with a brief presentation on Shanshui City by Ma Yansong at 7:00 p.m. and will be followed by a conversation with Frances Anderton of KCRW’s DnA: Design and Architecture, and Dean Qingyun Ma from the USC School of Architecture.
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.
Concerns regarding the environmental sensitivity of George Lucas’ proposed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Chicago has caused the project to halt, and may even prevent it from being realized. According to a suit filed against the museum by the Friends of the Parks, environmentalists believe that the “mountainous” lakefront proposal, designed by MAD Architects, will disrupt the site’s ecosystem.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, Lucas’ hasn’t given up on Chicago yet. However, considering that Lucas wants to see the museum built within his lifetime, the 70-year-old Star Wars director is starting to reconsider a University of Southern California (USC) campus site in Los Angeles.
The current state of architectural design incorporates many contemporary ideas of what defines unique geometry. With the advent of strong computer software at the early 21st century, an expected level of experimentation has overtaken our profession and our academic realms to explore purposeful architecture through various techniques, delivering meaningful buildings that each exhibit a message of cultural relevancy.
These new movements are not distinct stylistic trends, but modes of approaching concept design. They often combine with each other, or with stylistic movements, to create complete designs. Outlined within this essay are five movements, each with varying degrees of success creating purposeful buildings: Diagramism, Neo-Brutalism, Revitism, Scriptism, and Subdivisionism.
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.”
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
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.
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.
China may be at a turning point in urban design: a recent article in Australian Financial Review points out that over 50 million apartments in Chinese cities (about 22.5 percent) are unoccupied. This problem springs from the ongoing Chinese construction boom, prompted by developers looking to stimulate urban economic growth as quickly as possible. However, Ma Yansong of MAD Architects believes these empty apartments are a sign that buyers find them unsuited to their needs, and that China should begin to enforce good design principles on these rapidly-constructed complexes. Read the full article here.
The Guangzhou Bureau of Science and IT has announced the shortlists for two major projects in Guangzhou. The two museum projects - the Guangzhou Museum and the Guangzhou Science Museum, each worth over $160 million - will be the latest in a host of high profile projects in China's third-largest city, a list which includes Zaha Hadid's Guangzhou Opera House, the 600m tall Canton Tower, IFC Guangzhou by Wilkinson Eyre Architects and the Guangzhou Circle, among others.
The Guangzhou Museum will be located to the West of Lingnan Square near the Canton Tower, while the Guangzhou Science museum will be located to the East. Practices making the two lists include Bjark Ingels Group, Miralles Tagliabue EMBT, TFP Farrells, MAD Architects and Steven Holl Architects. Read on after the break for the complete shortlists.
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.
In honor of International Museum Day we’ve collected twenty fascinating museums well worth visiting again. In this round up you’ll find classics - such as Bernard Tschumi Architects' New Acropolis Museum and Zaha Hadid Architects' MAXXI Museum - as well as lesser-known gems - such as Waterford City Council Architects’ Medieval Museum, the Natural History Museum of Utah by Ennead, and the Muritzeum by Wingårdhs. See all of our editors' favorites after the break!
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.