Discover the Fantastical Future Vision of a Beijing Architect
Skyscraper forests and manmade mountains are just some of the innovations of Ma Yansong, founding principal of MAD Architects, and subject of "MAD Works," a new book from Phaidon. phaidon.com/mad...
Located not far from Toronto, in Mississauga, Canada, Absolute Towers (2006–2012) is MAD Architects' statement on a new era of urban living. A landmark for the growing city, the towers feature an unusual twisting form, the result of floor plans rotated around the building's central core. This sinuous silhouette—where the spaces between buildings are as dynamic as the structures themselves—has earned the building the nickname the "Marilyn Monroe Towers." Picture by Tom Arban
Set not far from Chicago's landmark skyscrapers, MAD Architects' Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, scheduled for completion in 2019, makes a statement with its organic horizontality. The museum experience begins with the surrounding park, which flows into a hardscape plaza from which the structure seems to emerge. At its top, an observation platform will offer 360-degree views of the city. Picture courtesy of MAD Architects
Set within a crystalline aluminum shell on a harsh tundra, the Grand Theater of China's Harbin Opera House (2009–2015) by MAD Architects provides an organic contrast to its exterior. Meant to evoke a block of naturally eroded wood, the space is lined in Manchurian ash, a move that enhances the acoustics of the space, while also supporting the local artisan community. Picture by Hufton + Crow
For 8600 Wilshire, a 48,000-square-foot residential complex in Beverly Hills that will be completed in 2017, MAD Architects devised a program that combines urban density with abundant nature. The green walls are made of native drought-tolerant succulents and vines. This living brise-soleil shades outdoor spaces on the second and third's floors. Picture courtesy of MAD Architects
Available in October 2016 from Phaidon, "MAD Works" is the first monograph dedicated to MAD Architects, the boundary-breaking firm founded in 2004 by Ma Yansong. With offices in Beijing and Los Angeles, the firm has made a signature of its futuristic interpretations of nature. As the architect explains in the book's introduction: "People often ask what MAD stands for; sometimes I explain it stand for MA Design, but I like MAD (adjective) Architects better. It sounds like a group of architects with an attitude towards design and practice ... MAD is an attitude that works."
A kindergarten Okazaki, Japan, Clover House is named for its previous life. Originally a 1,100-square-foot residence in a traditional Japanese style, the structure was transformed by MAD Architects in a sculptural example of adaptive reuse wrapped in asphalt shingles. The windows were oriented to bring sunlight and shadow into the space in dynamic ways. Picture by Koji Fuji