a+u Architecture and Urbanism

a+u Architecture and Urbanism 20:09_600

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a+u - Architecture and Urbanism - is a monthly architectural magazine established in 1971. Since its inaugural issue, a+u has been widely celebrated by architects everywhere as Japan's only monthly periodical that provides in-depth reporting of architecture worldwide. Each issue is edited from a unique perspective, with essays penned by renowned architects, critics, and historians to guide the direction of tomorrow’s architecture, within and beyond Japan. Text is bilingual in English and Japanese. 1971年1月創刊。創刊以来、海外の建築情報を伝える日本唯一の月刊誌として、広く建築界に親しまれています。a+uの取材ネットワークは全世界に及び、100余カ国を網羅しています。これら各国の建築家を直接取材し、毎号独自の視点で編集することにより、生の動向をいち早く読者の皆様にお届けしています。また、建築家・評論家・歴史家による書き下ろし論文を掲載し、明日の建築のあり方を考える指針として国内外の建築界に多大な影響を与えています。

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12 Números

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6 min.
mad architects – dreamscape

Our September issue of a+u is dedicated to MAD Architects, a global architectural practice established by Chinese architect, Ma Yansong in 2004. Together with his 2 partners, Dang Qun and Yosuke Hayano, MAD now has offices in Beijing, Jiaxing, Los Angeles, and Rome. Since its beginning, the studio has been experimental and bold with its futuristic designs. Frederic Migayrou, deputy director of the MNAM-CCI at the Center Pompidou Paris, gives an account of each project and the unique methodologies used by Ma Yansong that translates into his designs. Yet, to MAD, it is also important that the environment they built maintains spiritual and emotional connections with people through nature. The result of this combination of technology and nature is a type of fiction architecture that balances itself ambiguously between art…

12 min.

It is enough to look at Clover House (see pp. 122–129), a 300 m2 kindergarten and residential project – and MAD’s first project realized in Japan – to understand the logic that drives the architecture firm created by Ma Yansong in 2004. Repeating the typology of the Japanese habitat inscribed on small plots, the architecture asserts itself as a shell that encloses the frame of a traditional wooden house – the wooden structure strongly affirming the mark of a tradition, a story, a materiality, opposing the whiteness of the envelope that accentuates the contemporaneity of the construction. Its entire design rests upon this in-between, where the skin that encloses the interior, recomposes the distribution of space, multiplying the connections between interior and exterior. This creates an abstract morphology defined by…

2 min.
nanjing zendai himalayas center

Built over 2,600 years ago, Nanjing is an iconic Chinese city that while embedded in a deep cultural heritage, has become highly modernized. As a former capital of 6 ancient Chinese dynasties, Nanjing holds a prominent place in Chinese history. Flourishing culturally and architecturally, it is home to many heritage sites, with a tapestry of historical landscapes – mountains, water, palaces, temples – as its backdrop. It is seen as a city of higher education, scientific and technological innovation. Over the past decade, Nanjing has been experiencing a bit of a contemporary renaissance. It has become home to one of the country’s largest railway stations connecting it with major cities. As a result, the transit-oriented design has spurred large-scale construction around the transportation hub, forming a new district of Nanjing. Among them…

2 min.
chaoyang park plaza

Positioned on the southern edge of Chaoyang Park, the largest park in Beijing’s central business district, Chaoyang Park Plaza is a 220,000 m2 complex that includes 10 buildings: 2 high-rise office towers, several small low-rise commercial buildings, and Armani apartment towers. Questioning the rigid stylization of our current modern city, with box-like buildings forming a strong, powerful skyline, Chaoyang Park Plaza explores an alternative approach that imagines a city with spiritual and cultural endeavors at its core. Despite being in compliance with the CBD as its backdrop, it is still harmonious with its neighboring park. It is conceived as a natural extension of the green space into the urban context, forming an escape from the surrounding metropolitan environment. As an expansion of nature and classical Eastern aesthetics, it borrows scenery from a…

2 min.
yabuli conference center

Yabuli, in northeastern China, is known for its rugged terrain and frigid temperatures – particularly its snow-capped mountains and innocent snowfields. It is also home to annual summits hosted by the China Entrepreneur Forum (CEF) – an economic platform considered to be the “Davos of China”. In 2017, the CEF commissioned MAD to design a permanent venue for their annual conferences. Cited along the axis of a mountain, MAD’s design of the Yabuli Conference Centre is a tent-like structure that is defined by soft, sloping lines. It casually mirrors the mountainous scenery that surrounds it, quietly settling into the landscape, leaving an elegant impression. While humble in its presence, it does not lose the dynamic atmosphere of northern China, integrating itself with the sky, the ground, the snow, the forest, and…

2 min.
huangshan mountain village

Located near the ancient villages of Hongcun and Xidi in China’s Anhui province, Huangshan is a UNESCO Heritage Site and home to one of the country’s most beautiful mountains. Organized in a linked configuration across the southern slope of Taiping Lake, Huangshan Mountain Village establishes a new kind of village landscape: one where architecture becomes nature, and nature dissolves into architecture. Composed in deference to the local topography, each building is diverse in height and appearance. The intention has been to design the 10 buildings as an extension of the natural landscape, minimizing their impact on the treasured land. The residential units are envisioned as quiet retreats. Each one boasts an expansive balcony whose organic lines respond to the topographic contours of the immediate mountainous terrain. Extending the interior to the exterior, they…