Ma Yansong's New Apartment Complex Refuses to Tame the Wilderness
There’s a strange duality to the work of MAD Architecture firm and its lead architect Ma Yansong. Although their work is on the cutting edge, each new structure tries to imitate its surrounding area, a strange combination of camouflage and spectacle. For example, a building complex in a seaside village that has the appearance of a mountain range, a behemoth space-age museum hides in the middle of the Gobi desert, or an amorphous structure that floats above the city’s highest peaks creating a new level of terrain altogether.
With the release of the plans for his latest apartment complex near Taiping Lake, the architect recreates ancient Chinese landscape paintings with his ameoba-shaped layered buildings. The 700-apartment complex rises out of the foggy lakeside, imitating the silhouette created by the overlapping peaks of the Huangshan Mountains which encircle the lake’s shore. The buildings’ reflective balconies even imitate the lake’s mirrored surface.
While other artists like Yang Yongliang have adapted images of modern cities to resemble ancient artworks, Yansong prefers a different approach. Instead of attempting to turn metropolises into modern versions of these paintings, he advocates a sort of return to nature. Instead of simply marveling at the scenery (which was recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage site) he hopes that residents of his complex “see themselves in relation to this environment, instead of pursuing life in large cities.”
Images from MAD