1. Home
  2. Architects
  3. Biography
  4. MAD Architects - Ma Yansong

MAD Architects - Ma Yansong


Founded in 2004 by Chinese architect Ma Yansong (1975), MAD Architects is an international architecture practice "committed to developing futuristic, organic and technologically advanced designs that embody a contemporary interpretation of the Eastern affinity with nature".

The Practice has offices in Beijing, Los Angeles and New York and, in addition to Ma Yansong, is headed by Dang Qun and Yosuke Hayano.
Architect and theorist Ma Yansong graduated from the University of Civil Engineering and Architecture in Beijing and obtained a Masters degree from Yale. Currently he lectures at his Alma Mater. Following his apprenticeship with Zaha Hadid, who had a significant influence on his formal studies with the use of digital technology, Ma Yansong’s professional career has primarily focused on residential architecture, offices, museums, cultural centers and installations.

With its core design philosophy based on "Shanshui City", MAD endeavors to create “a balance between humanity, the city and the environment, in a vision of the city of the future based on the spiritual and emotional needs of its residents”.
The concept of "Shanshui City", by the renowned Chinese scientist Qian Xuesen (1911-2009), began in the Eighties. The aim, in theory, was to create cities and urban communities which would "allow people to stay out of nature and return to nature. However, the concept remained purely theoretical and was never implemented.

According to Ma Yansong, "Shanshui not only references nature but is also an individual’s emotional response to the surrounding area (...) it is a combination of city density, functionality and artistic conception of the natural landscape. It aims to construct a city of the future with human spirit and emotion at its core.”

In this respect, he also stated: “The city of the future will shift from the pursuit of material civilization to the pursuit of nature. This is what happens when human beings experience industrial civilization at the expense of the natural environment. The harmonious emotional relationship between nature and man will be rebuilt in "Shanshui city" (…) The idea of architecture coexisting with nature fascinates me. So much of today’s architecture is like consumer products - mass produced. A mass-produced item has no spirit. It is disposable - something to be used once and then simply thrown away. [...] I want to create timeless designs that move with and inspire people - to make them feel and think" (from Shanshui City, Imaginist, 2014).

MAD Architects is recognized as one of the most exciting young Chinese design studios in the world. In 2008 ICON magazine included him in the current 20 most influential young architects.
MAD focuses on formal invention combined with manipulating high-performance materials, as illustrated in projects such as the China Wood Sculpture Museum (2013) and Ordos Museum (2011). Inspired by Buckminster Fuller’s Dome Over Manhattan, this is a disconcerting creation for the municipality of Ordos’ rigid masterplan for the new city center.

In many of their projects, including Hutong Bubble 32, Beijing (2009), Harbin Opera House (2015) and Nanjing Zendai Himalayas Center, Nanjing (2017), MAD has "introduced in China the Baroque plasticity of architecture that aspires to become a powerful part of the new contemporary Asian artificial landscape (...) a disconcerting fusion of curved lines between the organic and new parametric seems to make us think of terms like "sensual" or "sinuous" to describe it" (L. Molinari, per Domus No. 1026, 2018).

The recent Gardenhouse residential complexes in Los Angeles (2018) and UNIC in Paris (2019) are MAD Architects’ first projects in Europe and the USA.
Ma Yansong won the RIBA International Fellowship in 2011 and was selected as “Young Global Leader (YGL)” by the World Economic Forum in 2014.
Ma Yansong - MAD Architects selected works and projects
- China Entrepreneur Forum Conference Centre, Yabuli (Cina), 2020
- Courtyard Kindergarten, Pechino (Cina), 2019
- Complesso residenziale UNIC, Parigi (Francia), 2019
- China Philharmonic Concert Hall, Pechino (Cina), 2019
- Xinhee Design Center, Xiamen (Cina), in corso
- Quzhou Sports Campus, Quzhou (Cina), 2018 - in corso (previsto 2021)
- Gardenhouse, Los Angeles (USA), 2018
- Nanjing Zendai Himalayas Center, Nanchino (Cina), 2017
- Chaoyang Park Plaza, Pechino (Cina), 2017
- Huangshan Mountain Village, Huangshan (Cina), 2017
- Clover House, Okazaki, Aichi (Giappone), 2015
- Fake Hills, Beihai (Cina), 2015
- Harbin Opera House, Harbin (Cina), 2015
- China Wood Sculpture Museum, Harbin (Cina), 2013
- Conrad Hotel, Pechino (Cina), 2013
- Absolute Towers, Mississauga (Canada) 2012
- Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort, Huzhou (Cina), 2012
- Ordos Museum, Ordos (Cina), 2011
- National Art Museum of China (progetto), Pechino (Cina), 2011
- Hutong Bubble 32, Pechino (Cina), 2009
- Hongluo Clubhouse, Pechino (Cina), 2006
Official website

Related Articles: MAD Architects Ma Yansong

Related Articles



From the 31st of January to the 3rd of March, the works of the finalists and winners of the 7th...



Westway Architects: From the "Reti 15" Recovery, to Iconic Projects in Italy and Ethiopia

Westway Architects has transformed a former industrial space in Rome's San Lorenzo district into...



Huizhen High School: a campus that celebrates free thought

Huizhen High School, designed by the Approach Design Studio in collaboration with the Zhejiang...