Breaking New Ground

From Architectural Record’s 2019 Innovation Conference
Presented by Ma Yansong, Founder and Principal Partner, MAD Architects

Learning Objectives:

  1. Offer ways in which new designs and structures can be added to older sites and buildings with a lot of history so as to preserve that history while moving the area into the future.
  2. Emphasize how manmade structures can be used to emulate natural elements of the local environment in order to better blend in.


0.5 AIA LU/Elective
This test is no longer available for credit

Ma will present a series of highly inventive new projects, from the conceptual phase to nearly complete—Quzhou Sports Campus, Yiwu Grand Theater, Beijing Courtyard Kindergarten, Beverly Hills Gardenhouse, the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles, and Manhattan East 34th —that incorporate organic forms and extensive greenery, appearing as natural outgrowths of the land and, in one case, water.

As founder and principal of MAD Architects, Beijing-born Ma Yansong leads design across various scales, creating a series of imaginative works, including the Harbin Opera House, Hutong Bubble 32, Ordos Museum, Chaoyang Park Plaza, and Huangshan Mountain Village. In 2014, Ma was selected as the designer for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art— the first Chinese architect to design a cultural landmark overseas. In 2006, Ma received the Young Architects Award from the Architectural League of New York. In 2010 he became the first architect from China to receive a RIBA fellowship. In 2014 he was awarded “Young Global Leaders” by the World Economic Forum. In 2012, his Absolute Towers, in Mississauga, Canada was named the “Best Tall Building in the Americas” by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. Ma graduated from the Beijing Institute of Civil Engineering and Architecture, and holds a Master’s Degree in Architecture from Yale University. He is currently a professor at Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture, as well as an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California, and Tsinghua University.


Originally published in December 2019