We've got news for you.

Register on Sunday Times at no cost to receive newsletters, read exclusive articles & more.
Register now

Who designed Beijing’s new skyline? They must be MAD


Who designed Beijing’s new skyline? They must be MAD

The Chinese city has been transformed by visionary architects

Mila Crewe-Brown

A series of black towers rises and falls against the swelling Beijing skyline, perched on the periphery of the city’s largest park. Chaoyang Park Plaza is the name and MAD was the architecture firm that brought the staggering mixed-use complex to life. The towers that comprise the Armani Apartment Complex and adjoining commercial complex stand in contrast to Beijing’s more impervious and imposing buildings. Instead of adding another intrinsically human structure to the landscape, the plaza speaks to nature.The concept extends the park into the urban landscape. Chief architect Ma Yansong wanted the building to be fluid, almost poetic, rather than heavy on the landscape. Taking his cue from the ancient art form of shanshui, Chaoyang Park Plaza bears a resemblance to the inky painting style’s rising peaks and troughs and its loose brushwork. Not only is the building inspired by nature, it’s green to its core and subsequently won the LEED gold certification by the US Green Building Council.There’s a lightness of form and an element of poetry to MAD’s expression. The firm is cued by nature and the emotional connection that’s possible when interacting with built spaces. Take a look at a few of MAD’s other buildings:
CLOVER HOUSEThis family home turned kindergarten in Japan was conceived on the notion that children should be educated in a space that fosters growth, a space that’s as nurturing as their own homes.Designed from a child’s point of view, the building is playful and light, using timber from the original residence and an organic white shingled outer layer with geometric windows that pierce its shell.
HARBIN OPERA HOUSEA seemingly liquid structure moulded by wind and water, the lyrical Harbin Opera House’s dramatically curved aluminium façade and “eroded” timber interior structure were designed to fit in with the dramatic wilderness and icy climate that’s synonymous with this part of northern China.HUANGSHAM MOUNTAIN VILLAGESet in a scenic mountain range, this topographically inspired apartment complex comprises 10 buildings that follow the shores of Taiping Lake. Mirroring the surrounding mountainside in height and form, there’s a sense of serenity  in their design.

This article is reserved for Sunday Times Daily subscribers.
A subscription gives you full digital access to all Sunday Times Daily content.

Sunday Times Daily

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems?
Email helpdesk@timeslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.