Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Ordos Museum in Erdos, China by MAD
November 15th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: MAD
The design of MAD’s first completed museum fosters new spirit in a city that was nothing but Gobi desert six years ago.
Located in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, the Art and City Museum is a crossroads for a community working to interpret its local traditions in a new urban context.
The project was first envisioned six years ago, in the then-desert wilderness of Inner Mongolia, when the municipal government of Ordos commissioned MAD to design a museum for the unbuilt metropolis. Amidst the controversy surrounding the planned city, it became evident that the museum for Ordos must navigate the many contradictions that emerge when local culture meets with visions of the future city.
Inspired by Buckminster Fuller’s “Manhattan Dome”, MAD conceived of a futuristic shell to protect the cultural history of the region and refute the rational new city outside. Encapsulated by a sinuous façade, the museum sits upon sloping hills – a gesture to the recent desert past and now a favorite gathering place for local children and families.
Upon entering the atrium, a brighter, more complex world unfolds. A canyon-like corridor connects the east and west entrances, allowing the space to become an open extension of the outer urban space. Visitors meander through the space as if in the future – yet eternal– Gobi desert.
The completion of the museum offers a moment of pause in a city which has seen no end to construction. In this vital space where the past and the contemporary are joined, people can meet with art and with each other, giving new spirit to this young community.
MAD works in forward looking environments, developing futuristic architecture based on contemporary interpretation of the eastern spirit of nature. All of MAD’s projects – from residential complexes, the workplace to museums and cultural centers – desire to protect a sense of community and orientation toward nature, offering people the freedom to develop their own experience. Founded in 2004 by Ma Yansong, the office gained international attention in 2006 when it was commissioned to design two residential towers near Toronto, Canada, which will be completed by the end of 2011. Other ongoing cultural projects by MAD include the China wood Sculpture museum & Harbin Cultural Island in Harbin and the Huangdu Art house in Beijing.
Ma Yansong, Founding Principal
Beijing-born architect Ma Yansong is recognized as an important voice in a new generation of architects. Since the founding of MAD in 2004, his works have been widely published and exhibited. He studied at Beijing Institute of Civil Engineering and Architecture, holds a masters degree in Architecture from Yale University and has taught Architecture at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing.
Ma Yansong received the American Institute of Architects Scholarship for Advanced Architecture Research in 2001 and won the 2006 Architecture League Young Architects Award. In 2008 he was selected as one of the twenty most influential young architects today by ICON magazine while Fast Company named him one of the ten most creative people in architecture in 2009. In 2010 he became the first architect from China to receive a RIBA fellowship.
In her RIBA fellowship jury report, RIBA President Ruth Reed declared: “Ma Yansong is a young Chinese architect who has come to architectural maturity at a time when his country is beginning to allow the freedom of expression so vital to the artist and sufficient freedom to the economy to allow his ideas to be realized as buildings. His work expresses the tension between the individual imagination and the needs of society as a whole. “
Ma Yansong works on projects ranging in scale from conceptual art projects to large mixed-use architecture. By the end of 2011, six of his projects will be built, including the Hutong Bubble 32 in Beijing, the Ordos Museum in Inner Mongolia and the Absolute Towers near Toronto, Canada.