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Fake Hills by MAD Architects

February 8, 2010

This is an amazing project by MAD Architects!


Year 2008
Location Beihai, China
Typology Residential Apartment
Site Area: 109,203sqm
Building Area: 492,369sqm
Building Height: Slab-106m; Tower-194m
Status Under construction

Throughout China’s ultra-rapid urbanization, attention has been focused on set-piece architecture: opera houses, museums, stadiums. However these would-be icons form the exception rather than the rule. The vast majority of development in China’s new cities takes the form of residential schemes, often standardized and cheap to guarantee developers a quick return. Is it possible to build high-density, economically viable housing which is also architecturally innovative?

Our design for a new housing development is located in the coastal city of Beihai, on a long, narrow waterfront site. The design concept combines two typologies that most commonly define residential developments in China: high rise towers and long, low rise blocks. The result is a bold new structure, a long slab with an undulating roof and circular openings. This unique shape maximizes the views of the residents, but at the same time becomes a monolithic break between the waterfront and the land behind it.

The solution is twofold: to cut into the slab, creating a sculpted form which references the shape of the hills that dominate the region’s landscape, and to cut openings through the structure, allowing views and light to penetrate the structure.

A further reference point is traditional Chinese architecture’s intrigue with nature. Rather than sitting the building in a perfect, man-made natural garden, our structure becomes the man-made natural shape itself: fake hills on which the residents can live. The design provides both a high density solution and a new landmark for the city.

Associate Engineers: Jiang Architects & Engineers (JAE)
Structural Engineers: Jiang Architects & Engineers (JAE)
Mechanical Engineer: Jiang Architects & Engineers (JAE)

Design Team: Xue Yan; Xu Dongxin; Wang Wei; Tang Liu; Zhang Jie; Ren Xiaowei; Kristie Park; Dinah Zhang; Fernie Lai; Fu Changrui; Zheng Tao

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