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Mad Architects: The Latest Architecture and News

TED Talk: Ma Yansong Designs Mountains, Clouds and Volcanoes

Ma Yansong has come to represent a new generation of Chinese architects shaping a forward-looking architecture. Founder of the firm MAD Architects, Yansong was the first Chinese architect to receive a RIBA fellowship. Today, Ma continues to explore contemporary architecture that's grounded in traditional Eastern values of nature, bridging design between the East and West. His latest TED Talk explores his new projects and surreal designs.

Courtesy of MAD Architects Courtesy of MAD Architects Courtesy of MAD Architects Courtesy of MAD Architects + 6

Spotlight: Ma Yansong

Founder of the innovative architecture firm MAD Architects, Ma Yansong (born 26 November 1975) has helped to give China a name in the international architecture scene. The first Chinese architect to receive a RIBA fellowship, Ma explores contemporary architecture in relation to traditional eastern values of nature, resulting in buildings that are complex and contextually aware, but sometimes even surreal.

Harbin Opera House. Image © Iwan Baan Absolute Towers. Image © Iwan Baan Courtesy of MAD Architects Harbin Opera House. Image © Hufton+Crow + 13

MAD Architects Designs Pylon Infrastructure for HyperloopTT

MAD Architects have designed a new pylon infrastructure with Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HyperloopTT). Created as an elevated rapid transport system, the project is made to demonstrate how the artificial can merge with nature through a new urban infrastructure. MAD’s proposal aims to rethink the future of travel and reshape the way we plan and use public space.

Courtesy of MAD Architects, HyperloopTT Courtesy of MAD Architects, HyperloopTT Courtesy of MAD Architects, HyperloopTT Courtesy of MAD Architects, HyperloopTT + 7

MAD's First Built Project in Europe Nears Completion

MAD Architects’ first built project in Europe is nearing completion in the French capital of Paris. Led by Ma Yansong, MAD was awarded the project in 2012 following an international design competition, working in collaboration with French firm Biecher Architectes. The building, named “UNIC,” emerges as part of a mixed-use masterplan envisioned adjacent to the Martin Luther King Park: a 10-hectare green space.

© Jared Chulski © Jared Chulski © Jared Chulski © Jared Chulski + 16

MAD Designs New "Floating Theater" of Glass Sails in China

MAD Architects have revealed the design of a new theater made of glass sails in Yiwu, China. Located on the south bank of the Dongyang River, the ‘Yiwu Grand Theater’ encompasses a 1600 seat grand theater, medium theater, and international conference center. The project's protective canopy was made to resonate with the river and use water as its stage. MAD’s design responds to its locale by appearing as a boat floating on the river above the water’s surface.

Yiwu Grand Theater. Image Courtesy of MAD Architects Yiwu Grand Theater. Image Courtesy of MAD Architects Yiwu Grand Theater. Image Courtesy of MAD Architects Yiwu Grand Theater. Image Courtesy of MAD Architects + 18

MAD Designs Slender Skyscraper to Soften New York City's Skyline

MAD Architects have revealed a new vision for New York City skyscrapers with a sinuous slender tower near the Empire State Building. Dubbed ‘East 34th’, the project was designed with a dark-colored glass facade that was made to fade into the atmosphere. Located adjacent to one of New York's most iconic structures, the project rethinks the city's rectilinear towers and sharp edges to create a new form for the Manhattan high-rise.

East 34th. Image Courtesy of MAD Architects East 34th. Image Courtesy of MAD Architects East 34th. Image Courtesy of MAD Architects East 34th. Image Courtesy of MAD Architects + 7

Centre Pompidou Acquires 12 Architectural Models by MAD Architects

The Centre Pompidou in Paris has acquired 12 architectural models by MAD Architects, depicting 10 significant projects undertaken by the firm. Each model embodies MAD’s core values that “look to envisioning a futuristic architecture that is akin to dream-like earthscapes – one that creates a conversation with nature, the earth, and the sky.”

The collection, permanently acquired by the Pompidou, represents projects developed by MAD between 2005 and the present day, demonstrating the evolution of the firm’s design process. The Pompidou has become the first major European cultural institution to acquire such a collection of MAD’s work, on display in an exhibition beginning in April 2019.

Clover House. Image Courtesy of MAD Architects East 34th. Image Courtesy of MAD Architects Lucas Museum of Narrative Art (Chicago). Image © Shu He Pingtan Art Museum. Image © Shu He + 13

MAD Architects' Nanjing Zendai Himalayas Center Nears Completion in China

MAD Architects have revealed new photographs of their Nanjing Zendai Himalayas Center, as work nears completion in China. The mixed-use development, totaling over 560,000 square meters of building area, will host commercial, hotel, office, and residential functions. The development “seeks to restore the spiritual harmony between humanity and nature” through integrating contemplative spaces that merge nature with the demands of modern living.

A series of low-rise buildings and footbridges allow the scheme to unfold onto the city, with curving, ascending corridors and elevated pathways weaving through commercial buildings. The routes are activated by public gardens and social spaces, to “create a spiritual and poetic retreat in the middle of the city. 

© CreatAR Images via MAD Architects © CreatAR Images via MAD Architects © CreatAR Images via MAD Architects © CreatAR Images via MAD Architects + 7

Life On High: the Renaissance of Rooftop Spaces is Here to Stay

Though seemingly opposite environments, cities are a lot like rainforests. At ground level, the world is dank, dark, and full of predators. Inhabitants seeking fresh air, sunshine, and privacy have only one direction to go: up.

So in the urban jungle, it’s only natural to build a “canopy” in the form of rooftop architecture. The popularity of rooftop amenities across residential, commercial, hospitality, and even health-care projects shows that’s exactly what’s happening.

Life On High: the Renaissance of Rooftop Spaces is Here to Stay © Michael Moran Life On High: the Renaissance of Rooftop Spaces is Here to Stay Life On High: the Renaissance of Rooftop Spaces is Here to Stay + 10

MAD Architects Design Panoramic Viewpoint for Historic Warehouse in Rotterdam

MAD Architects has unveiled images of their proposed panoramic viewpoint for the Fenix Warehouse in Rotterdam, commissioned by the Droom en Daad Foundation. The scheme represents MAD’s first public cultural project in Europe, which sees them tasked with uncovering the forgotten history of what was once one of the biggest warehouses in the world.

The viewpoint is to form part of a restoration project of the historic warehouse itself, to be led by Rotterdam-based Bureau Polderman. The scheme is situated on the site of one of the oldest Chinatowns in Europe, on the southern banks of the port of Rotterdam.

MAD Architects Begin Construction on Floating Kindergarten above Historic Beijing Courtyard

Construction has begun on MAD Architect’s “Courtyard Kindergarten” in Beijing. Located on the site of a traditional siheyuan courtyard dating from 1725, MAD’s proposal sees a new building inserted to protect the surroundings, and reinvigorate the existing buildings into use.

The courtyard will be surrounded by a “dynamic floating roof” offering a “multi-layered urban narrative, where old and new co-exist.” The rooftop element is envisioned as a “place full of magic – a playful escape for the children that is a symbol of freedom and endless imagination.”

© SAN © SAN © SAN © SAN + 27

MAD Architects Begins Construction on Mountainous Quzhou Sports Campus in China

MAD Architects have officially begun construction on the Quzhou Sports Campus in China. Led by the Ma Yansong, the team designed the campus as a futuristic landscape with mountains and a lake conceived as a sunken garden. The design connects to the historic city as a surreal, ethereal and tranquil landscape. The 700,000 sqm sports campus combines the functions of a sports park with natural and organic forms to embrace thousands of years of history and culture in Zhejiang.

Quzhou Sports Campus. Image Courtesy of MAD Architects Quzhou Sports Campus. Image Courtesy of MAD Architects Quzhou Sports Campus. Image Courtesy of MAD Architects Quzhou Sports Campus. Image Courtesy of MAD Architects + 12

UNStudio Named Winner of Landmark Melbourne Skyscraper Competition

UNStudio and Cox Architecture have officially been announced as the winners of Melbourne’s landmark Southbank Precinct overhaul. Selected from a range of high-profile offices, including BIG, OMA, and MAD, UNStudio's vision for the $2 billion project includes a pair of twisted towers called Green Spine. As the largest single-phase project in the history of Victoria, Australia, the Green Spine is designed as a state-of-the-art, mixed-use environment centered around innovation in architecture and design.

Green Spine. Image Courtesy of UNStudio / Cox Architecture Green Spine. Image Courtesy of UNStudio / Cox Architecture Green Spine. Image Courtesy of UNStudio / Cox Architecture Green Spine. Image Courtesy of UNStudio / Cox Architecture + 30

MAD Revitalizes Abandoned Japanese Mountain Tunnel with Elemental Art Trail

MAD Architects have completed their restoration work on the Kiyotsu Gorge Tunnel in Japan’s Niigata prefecture, transforming the historic lookout tunnel into a trail of artistic spaces. The “Tunnel of Light” was opened as part of the 2018 Echigo-Tsumari Triennale, cutting through 750 meters of rock formations to offer a panoramic view across one of Japan’s great landscapes.

MAD’s scheme seeks to “transform points along the historic tunnel through the realization of several architectural spaces and artistic atmospheres." Inspired by the five elements of wood, earth, metal, fire, and water, the scheme explores the relationship between humans and nature, and "re-connects locals and visitors alike with the majestic beauty of the land."

Periscope (Wood). Image Courtesy of Nacasa & Partners Inc The Drop (Fire). Image Courtesy of Nacasa & Partners Inc The Drop (Fire). Image Courtesy of Nacasa & Partners Inc Expression of Color (Earth). Image Courtesy of Nacasa & Partners Inc + 22