MAD In China

by | 30. Aug 2012

Exhibitions and Events

Photo: arcspace

They combine art, design and architecture, creating their own agenda. Their approach is visionary, dramatic, humoristic and international. They look into the future and relate to social and urban issues in their projects. They are China’s wild young architects – and they call themselves MAD.


Photo: arcspace


Photo: arcspace

MAD Office, a young Chinese firm of architects and designers, took the international scene by storm, when they in 2006, as the first Chinese studio ever, won an architecture competition outside China. The “Absolute Tower” in Toronto, Canada, is scheduled for completion in 2009.


Photo courtesy MAD


In general the building looks like a sculpture…The connected balcony surrounds the whole building and thus removes the vertical lines, which is traditionally used in high rise architecture to accentuate the height. The whole building rotates with different degrees on different levels, which fit the sceneries in the different heights. Our goal is to wake the resident’s search for nature and bring them in contact with sunlight and the wind.

Over the last 20 years China has become known as the factory of the world. “Made in China” is globally recognised as symbolising cheap products and poor quality. But China is rapidly moving forwards, not only economically, culturally and artistically, but also with its dreams and ambitions for the future.

A new generation of architects and designers are helping to change the Chinese brand from cheap “Made in China” products to visionary “Made by China” projects.


Photo: arcspace

Most spectacular is MAD’s visionary “Beijing 2050,” where the studio has quite literally gone mad, with futuristic visions for a densely populated city in the year 2050.

What will the densely populated future city in China look like? We think we need a literal connection rather than segregation or simply chasing the building height. Digital studios, multimedia business centers, theaters, restaurants, libraries, sightseeing, exhibitions, gyms, and even a man made lake are elevated above the Central Business District, and connect with each other horizontally. This proposal and the new city organization principle articulate our queries of “machine aesthetics” and “vertical city”, characterized by modernism.

Photo: arcspace

In 2050 Tian’an men Square will be an urban space filled with life and the biggest green area in the center of Beijing.


Photo: arcspace


The “Beijing 2050” project is not merely an image, however beautiful it may be. It is perhaps also a reflection, in which we can take a closer look at history and the world of today. The project is not an expression of rebellious or radical ideology. Rather, it symbolises a desire to acknowledge our history and present realities. We believe that our visions will become reality by 2050.
/Ma Yansong

Sun Plaza, on Guangzhou international biology island, is designed to resemble an undulating surface, where meetings, exhibitions, technologies, and services center are linked up to form an integral construction. The architecture floats on the island, making full use of the open space while protecting three ancient ancestral temples. The architecture is no longer deemed as an obstruction to the space, in fact, it has developed an open space where the new architecture and cultural relics coexist in perfect harmony.


Photo: arcspace

Changsha City’s new culture platform creates a soft surface, under which the Music hall, museum, and library are gathered together. The waterfront landscape is presented again in this three-dimensional platform.

The biggest challenge of this architectural project was to create a new cultural plateau for Changsha City, which simultaneously serves as an organic links between urban context and waterfront. This new urban plateau has two surfaces that respond and articulate to internal function. The external environment turns out to be new urban space blessed with the richness of the great nature, which has been given a vigorous touch by the progression of the city.

Photo: arcspace

MAD’s low-energy single-family house “Denmark Pavilion” will be manufactured in China, transported to Denmark, and erected on the site.


Photo courtesy MAD


Photo courtesy MAD


I couldn’t help asking myself, why shouldn’t we make it a thing completely produced in China? Build the house in China and then ship it to Europe!
/Ma Yansong

Photo courtesy MADHong Luo Club, Beijing, China, completed 2006.


Photo: arcspaceErdos Museum, Inner Mongolia, under construction.


Photo: arcspaceErdos Museum, Inner Mongolia, under construction.


Photo: arcspaceThe “Fish Tank,” a humoristic design experiment.


Photo: arcspaceMAD buildings


Photo: arcspaceMAD buildings


The exhibition gives us a valuable insight into what we can expect of the new generation of Chinese architects.
/Kent Martinussen, CEO, Danish Architecture Centre

MAD, an abbreviation of MA Design, is named after the firm’s founder, Ma Yansong, but purposefully plays on the crazy pun.

Established in 2002 MAD has three partners, 30 employees and the main office in Beijing. In April 2007 MAD opened another office in Tokyo, Japan.

Ma Yansong
Yosuke Hayano
Qun Dang


Photo: arcspaceYosuke Hayano and Ma Yansong at the exhibition.