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

Ma Yansong, . Image © Edoardo Giancola

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 , 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.

Lecture: Antón García-Abril & Débora Mesa in Shanghai

As part of the CA Group’s lecture series, “Architour,” principal of Ensamble Studio, Antón García-Abril & Débora Mesa, will give a lecture at 15:30 on March 29th at Tongji Architectual Design (Group) Co.,Ltd.(TJAD) auditorium in . For 2013 through 2015, “Architour” has as its theme “New Force of Architecture – Leading Young Architects”: each year, the CA Group will select nine young, global leaders in architecture (four from Asia and five from the West) to lecture on topics that cross typologies and disciplines, from architectural design, urban planning to interior design. Sou Fujimoto, Hirata Akihisa, Christian Kerez and Thomas Heatherwick were the series’ first speakers.

At the end of each year, an exhibition will be mounted; and at the end of the years, the contents of the lectures will be published as a book.

More info on the “Architour” at the CA Group‘s website and weibo.

Title: Lecture: Antón García-Abril & Débora Mesa in Shanghai
Organizers: CA GROUP, TJAD, China Fortune Properties(GROUP)co., Ltd, China Vanke Co., Ltd., Bulthaup
From: Sat, 29 Mar 2014 15:30
Until: Sat, 29 Mar 2014 17:00
Venue: Tongji Architectual Design (Group) Co.,Ltd.(TJAD) Auditorium 1st floor
Address: Siping North Road, Jinshan, Shanghai, China

EMG Shanghai Design Centre / O-OFFICE Architects

© Likyfoto

Architects: O-OFFICE Architects
Location: Wujiaochang, Baoshan, Shanghai,
Area: 537 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Likyfoto

Shanghai Futures Exchange Data Processing Center / Silvio D´Ascia

Courtesy of Tristan Chapuis and Silvio d’Ascia

Architects: Silvio D´Ascia
Location: , China
Design Team: Silvio d’Ascia Architecture with (avec) AREP
Area: 94000.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Courtesy of Tristan Chapuis and Silvio d’Ascia

International Summer Programme: Cities in Asia

Cities in Asia HKG-SHA-SIN is a four-week design and research studio organized by the University of Hong Kong Faculty of Architecture. Taught with daily learning activities by a diverse group of faculty members from the University of Hong Kong, and speakers from internationally renowned universities and independent research groups, this course offers participants a design studio experience within Asia’s most vibrant contexts.

This credit-bearing course will introduce participants to different architecture and building types that have emerged from the current state of rapid urbanization in Hong Kong, and . These urban building types are unique in the way they resist and subvert, or become mutated or subsumed by the prevailing socio-political and economic conditions of the three cities. Participants will learn about new architectural and urban theories and analytical methods that will broaden their knowledge of architecture and the city. The course will expose students to the inter-disciplinary nature of the subject, promoting more diverse attitudes towards difference and change, and encouraging greater confidence in applying the use of such knowledge to design and the broader society.

Registration deadline is April 16. To register, please go to the event’s official website.

Title: International Summer Programme: Cities in Asia
Website: http://fac.arch.hku.hk/summer/cities-in-asia/
From: Sun, 29 Jun 2014
Until: Fri, 25 Jul 2014
Venue: Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai

Shanghai Community Cubes / INCLUDED

© Marco Jacobs

Architects: INCLUDED
Location: Gucun Road, Chongming, , China
Architect In Charge: Matt Mueller
Area: 150.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Marco Jacobs, Jennifer Ha

UA Studio 7 and Aedas’ Central Business District for Hongqiao Airport Now Underway

Courtesy of UA Studio 7

Urban Architecture (UA Studio 7) and Aedas‘ winning proposal for the Hongqiao Central Business District has broke ground at Shanghai’s domestic Hongqiao Airport, mainland ’s fourth busiest airport. The 18.4 hectare office and retail center, masterplanned by UA, has been divided into two parts: UA Studio 7 will design the office district, “a flower with eight leaves,” while Aedas designs the shopping, hotel, and conference center along a “bow curve” of pedestrian flow.

According to UA, the winning scheme’s success was “due to a highly energy-efficient architecture proposal combined with an urban plan that allows for pedestrian-friendly spaces.”

VIDEO: Watch Two Men Scale the World’s 2nd Tallest Tower

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“We prepared carefully and picked an appropriate date, the Chinese New Year day. At that time the security was less watchful, workers were on vacations, and cranes did not work. We got to the crane at around midnight. [...] The result you can see in our new video.”

Those are the rather unassuming words of Vitaliy Raskalov, a Ukrainian “roof-hacker, urban-explorer, blogger” who has just pulled off an extraordinary, jaw-dropping stunt (way more incredible than his humble words would suggest).

Raskalov and Russian photographer Vadim Mahora broke into and climbed the Gensler-designed Shanghai Tower, soon to be China’s tallest and the world’s second tallest skyscraper at 632 meters (2,074 feet) high. Although the tower will eventually boast the world’s fastest elevators (reaching 40mph), the pair had to climb the 120 flights of stairs by foot (taking them about two hours); they then spent another 18 hours sleeping and waiting for the weather to clear. The staggering resulting images show not just the dizzying heights, but also fantastic views of the adjacent Jin Mao Tower and Shanghai World Financial Center (together, the trio of buildings that are re-defining the Shanghai skyline).

Check out the incredible images, after the break.

Wulumuqi Road Apartment / SKEW Collaborative

Courtesy of

Architects: SKEW Collaborative
Location: Shanghai,
Architect In Charge: Eunice Seng, H. Koon Wee, Darren Zhou
Design Team: Zhao Wenju, Sam Cheng
Area: 110 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Courtesy of SKEW Collaborative

Jia Little Exhibition Center / SKEW Collaborative

Courtesy of SKEW Collaborative

Architects: SKEW Collaborative
Location: Songjiang, ,
Architect In Charge: Eunice Seng, H. Koon Wee, Darren Zhou
Design Team: I-Shin Chow, Xiong Haiying, Pauline Dai, Ji Lijun, Wang Peng, Teoh Renjie, Beatrix Redlich
Area: 38,000 sqm
Year: 2011
Photographs: Courtesy of SKEW Collaborative

Vertical Glass House / Atelier FCJZ

Courtesy of

Architects: Atelier FCJZ
Location: Longteng Avenue, Xuhui, Shanghai, China
Principal Architect: Yung Ho Chang
Project Architect: Lu Bai
Project Team: Li Xiang Ting, Cai Feng
Client: West Bund
Area: 170.0 sqm
Photographs: Courtesy of Atelier FCJZ

The Cellar / Chiasmus Partners

© Aaron Qiao

Architects: Chiasmus Partners
Location: Shanghai,
Architect In Charge: James Wei Ke, Hyunho Lee, AIA
Design Team: Laura Pumar, Yin Fengkun, Wu Shuang, Jiang Miaowei, Zhang Wei, Liu Dewei, Xie Siyu, Qiao Ya, Wang Lihui, Zeng Shihua, Aude Pelamourgue, Huang Ying, Gong Nan, Zhou Wanru
Area: 725 sqm
Photographs: Aaron Qiao

Material Inspiration: 10 Projects Inspired by Glass

To celebrate the launch of ArchDaily Materials, our new product catalog, we’ve rounded up 10 awesome projects from around the world that were inspired by one material: . Check out the projects after the break…

Shanghai Vanke / Tsushima Design Studio

© Masao Nishikawa

Architects: Tsushima Design Studio
Location: Shanghai,
Landscape Architects: Studio on Site
Collaborators: Kobayashi Maki Design Workshop, Inc. (KMDW)
Area: 23320.0 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Masao Nishikawa

Shanghai Flower Garden Square / Real Time Architecture

Courtesy of RTA Office

The concept of the new Shanghai Flower Garden Square by Real Time Architecture  (RTA-Office) is a reinterpretation of a traditional Chinese home. Ten villas merge to form a series of sequential spaces, replacing the conventional building type of the single, stand-alone villa. The 45 square meter landscape, thus, finds its way throughout the units’ interiors, synchronizing interior and exterior user activities.

Under Armour / Marc Thorpe Design

Courtesy of Marc Thorpe Design

Architects: Marc Thorpe Design
Location: ,
Year: 2013
Photographs: Courtesy of Marc Thorpe Design

Folding Red / Jike Zhicheng

Courtesy of Jike Zhicheng

Architects: Jike Zhicheng
Location: Lujiazui, Pudong, ,
Collaborate Design: Tonghe Shanzhi
Area: 320 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Courtesy of Jike Zhicheng

Foster and Heatherwick Collaborate to Design Shanghai Finance Center

Courtesy of

Foster + Partners has joined forces with Heatherwick Studio to design the new Bund Finance Centre (BFC) in the heart of historic . The mixed-use, waterfront destination will serve as the “end point” to the city’s most famous street, as well as a prime connection between the old town, the Bund, and the new financial district.