MAD Architects move mountains for vast nature-inspired Chaoyang Park Plaza in Beijing

We want to blur the boundary between nature and the artificial, and make it so that both are designed with the other in mind
– Ma Yansong, MAD founder

Chinese practice MAD Architects have completed their latest urban-scale “expansion of nature” – a vast residential, commercial and leisure complex in Beijing that brings mountainous man-made towers into the heart of the city.

The 220,000sq m (2.3 million sq ft) Chaoyang Park Plaza is formed of 10 organically shaped buildings, each with smooth curved surfaces of black and white. It was conceived as an extension of the park – the largest in the central business district area – into the city itself.

MAD’s design seeks to conceptually ‘borrow’ brooks, creeks, rocks, valleys and forests from a distant landscape. Two asymmetrical twin tower office buildings on the north side of the site sit at the base of the park’s lake and evoke a pair of mountain peaks growing up to 142m (465.8ft) out of the water, with a transparent atrium pulling them together with a connecting glass rooftop structure.

The small-scale, low-rise commercial buildings have been designed to appear like mountain rocks that have endured long-term erosion. Their strategic relationship to one another forms “a secluded, but open urban garden” where people can meet within nature in the middle of the city.

Ma Yansong, the founder of MAD, said his ambition was “to create a different kind of city that, on a spiritual and cultural level, can be compared to the classical cities of Eastern philosophy and wisdom”.

“In modern cities, architecture as an artificial creation is seen more as a symbol of capital, power or technological development, while nature exists independently,” he said.

“It’s different from traditional Eastern cities where architecture and nature are designed as a whole, creating an atmosphere that serves to fulfil one’s spiritual pursuits.

“We want to blur the boundary between nature and the artificial, and make it so that both are designed with the other in mind. Then, the argument in the modern logic of humans to protect or to destroy nature will no longer exist if we understand and see humans and nature as co-existing.

"Human behaviour and emotion is part of nature, and nature is where that originates and ends.”

The project has been awarded LEED Gold Certification by the US Green Building Council for its sustainable features, including vertical fins on the towers that function as an energy-efficient ventilation and filtration system, drawing fresh air indoors.

The project, which took five years, was funded by Smart-hero (HK) Investment Development Limited. Other design firms collaborating with MAD included executive architects CCDI Group, façade consultants RFR Asia, interior designers MADA s.p.a.m. and the Greentown Akin Landscape Architecture Company.

MAD are currently working on a number of high-profile projects that similarly merge the artificial with the natural, including a museum for George Lucas in Los Angeles, a concert hall in Beijing and a series of interlinked green parks and leisure communities in place of Milan’s abandoned and dilapidated railyards.

Yansong has previously told CLADglobal that conservatism should not be allowed to stifle the creation of beautiful and boundary-pushing buildings, adding that creating a dialogue with the natural world must now “be the main focus” for architects.

“‘Nature’ in my sense of the word is a cultural thing – it’s more than just thinking about green architecture and sustainability,” he said. “Instead it has a more spiritual and poetic meaning.

"I’m talking about referencing nature even if there are no trees and there is no grass – and at the current stage, I’m actually trying to not put many trees in my buildings. Instead, it’s all about the space. What can you see? How does it make you feel? How does the architecture itself make the urban skyline more nature-like?

“We can learn from nature and then move beyond it. If you look at the ocean, it’s beautiful. But if you live by the ocean you will get tired of it eventually. We have the ability to be inspired by nature, but then create something a little bit different.”

MAD Architects  Ma Yansong  China  Beijing  architecture  design  Chaoyang Park Plaza 
Related stories

MAD Architects transforming Milan's abandoned railyards into nature-inspired leisure districts

Conservatism should not block boundary-pushing design, says Ma Yansong

MAD promise to take visitors on a journey through time and space with the unveiling of their China Philharmonic Hall design

Skeletons, flowers and fashion inspire MAD Architects' Xinhee Design Center

MAD Architects are building a floating art museum in China

MAD Architects' twisting, theatrical Harbin Opera House opens in China

FEATURE: Interview – Ma Yansong

Chinese practice MAD Architects have completed their latest urban-scale “expansion of nature” – a vast residential, commercial and leisure complex in Beijing that brings mountainous man-made towers into the heart of the city. The 220,000sq m (2.3 million sq ft) Chaoyang Park Plaza is formed of 10 organically shaped buildings, each with smooth curved surfaces of black and white. It was conceived as an extension of the park – the
CLD,ARC,DES,DEV,INV
MAD’s design seeks to conceptually ‘borrow’ brooks, creeks, rocks, valleys and forests from a distant landscape
 / Hufton + Crow
More news
News stories: 1 - 30 of 6155     
 
 
 
News stories: 1 - 30 of 6155     
 
 
 
company profile
Company profile: Gharieni Group GmbH
Gharieni Group is based in Germany and is a leading European manufacturer of high end spa and medical furniture, beds and equipment with 25 years of experience. All products are high-quality productions, made in Germany.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
features
Ingo Schweder, CEO, Goco Hospitality
"If you look at the amount of money we spend on healthcare in the US, and the amount of disease, we have you’ll understand why a lot of folks are starting to look for alternatives - Steve Nygren, Founder, Serenbe"

The US wellness communities providing a new model for living

Warm colours and open fires create a cozy feel at Lanserhof Tegernsee
Christoph Ingenhoven has championed sustainable architecture for more than 30 years. He is Super Jury member at this year’s World Architecture Festival
"At Lanserhof, you spend your money and it’s difficult and exhausting, but you feel as though you’re doing something very good for yourself and maybe also for others "

How Ingenhoven’s experience as a guest informed the design of the Lanserhof medical spas

VIA 57 West’s residential units surround a central courtyard garden
Beat Schenk
"Bjarke was this young kid, quite brash and totally insane, but with really good energy, directing the team about what to do next."

On meeting Bjarke Ingels at OMA and VIA 57 West

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
The BIG U high water barrier is 16km long, and incorporates community facilities
Kai-Uwe Bergmann
"BIG U is us starting the foundation work for a future resilient city."

The 'BIG culture ambassador' on the BIG U

BIG’s design for Google’s Charleston East Campus aims to foster a sense of community
Daniel Sundlin
"What defines BIG’s style of visual communication is that our diagrams clearly capture the essence of our projects, meaning that it’s very easy for people who don’t know our projects well to understand them."

The vision for Google's UK and US HQs

features
“If BIG had been founded for one project, it would have been Lego House,” says Ingels
"We want to take responsibility and initiative in giving form to our future"

The BIG founder talks about Lego House Mars Science City and the role of his team in BIG’s success

4. Pieces created for the Louis Vuitton Objets Nomades collection
Marcel Wanders leads a multidisciplinary team of 40. The studio is based in Amsterdam
"I want to create things that show my love, my respect, my interest in the world"

The Dutch designer embraces chaos

The Panda House features separate spaces for the male and female pandas
David Zahle
"I realised we’d created an environment where it was more about talent and trust than how much experience you had."

Designing the Panda House for Copenhagen Zoo

cladkit product news
HawkinsBrown complete timber pool facility for 'swimming among the trees'
The space has been designed as 'a welcoming retreat that engages with the mature woodland setting through the use of natural materials and colour schemes'
Kim Megson
Architects HawkinsBrown have completed an elegant timber pool hidden among the trees for a school in the English county of ...
Ma Yansong debuts out of this world furniture collection
Ma Yansong was inspired by science fiction and the possibility of life on Mars
Lauren Heath-Jones
Curation-led design gallery Gallery ALL debuted the MAD Martian Collection at Design Miami. Designed by Ma Yansong, founder and principal ...
RIBA North announces winter lineup
RIBA North opens its new season with the Cerámica exhibition
Lauren Heath-Jones
The RIBA North architectural centre in Liverpool, UK, has announced its lineup of events and exhibitions for the winter season. ...
cladkit product news
FAÇADE2017 winners
Ramboll was awarded for the Blavatnik Building, Switchouse Extension of the Tate Moder
Lauren Heath-Jones
A trio of British leisure facilities have been honoured in the Façade2017 awards. Established in 2013 by the Society of ...
AB Concept partners with House of Tai Ping for luxurious rug collection
The collection was inspired by the idea of looking down at the world from a great height
Lauren Heath-Jones
Design house AB Concept has partnered with bespoke rug specialist Tai Ping to create Nephele, an exclusive line of handcrafted ...
Richard and Ana Meier collaborate on lights inspired by geometry and past buildings
Lauren Heath-Jones
The designer Ana Meier has joined forces with her father, Pritzker-winning architect Richard Meier, and lighting specialist Hervé Descottes to ...
cladkit product news
Brdr. Krüger to exhibit at IMM Cologne
The Theodor chair was named after studio co-founder Theodor Krüger
Lauren Heath-Jones
Danish furniture company Brdr. Krüger will showcase a range of new and existing pieces at international interiors show, IMM Cologne. ...
Matteo Thun Atelier create hospitality collection inspired by Mediterranean atmosphere
The collection is designed to integrate with numerous architecture and interior projects across the hospitality sector
Kim Megson
The studio of Italian architect and designer Matteo Thun have produced a new range of wooden furniture designed for everything ...
x
Sign up with CLAD for regular news updates