Publication series "Consortium": MAD+ARUP+EADG

The leader of the consortium is architectural studio MAD ARCHITECTS from China?, and other consortium members are represented by multinational professional services firm ARUP and Asia’s largest multidisciplinary design practices EARTH ASIA DESIGN GROUP.


MAD architects is a Chinese architectural studio that builds futuristic architecture based on contemporary interpretation of the eastern spirit of nature. Founded in 2004 by Ma Yansong, the office first earned worldwide attention in 2006 by winning an international competition to design a residential tower near Toronto.

MAD partners with engineers, programmers, artists, landscape designers, energy and structural consultants from China, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States; the firm is committed to continuing and expanding these alliances to address challenges in design and provide ingenious solutions to our clients.

MAD’s ongoing projects include two major cultural projects in Harbin: the China Wood Sculpture Museum and Harbin Culture Island, an opera house and cultural center that will retain the original wetlands as an urban park between the old and new city

MAD’s residential projects strive for a symbiotic relationship between man, shelter and nature. MAD has several projects underway all around the world, ranging from conceptual design to construction phases. Internationally, MAD is currently designing a residential development in Rome and in Paris, both of which will begin construction next year.

Currently MAD is led by Ma Yansong, Dang Qun, and Yosuke Hayano. They have been awarded the Young Architecture Award from the New York Institute of Architects in 2006 and the 2011 RIBA. 

Shanshui Experiment Complex

MAD presented a 600,000 square meter urban design proposal for the city of Nanjing in China titled “Shanshui Experiment Complex,” at the 2013 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism / Architecture. The concept takes into account the culture, nature and history of Nanjing while reconsidering the methodology in which Chinese cities are built. It is expected to be completed in 2017.


The historic city Nanjing is famous for the mountain and water landscape around the city, as well as its modern prosperities. With the culture, nature and history considered, it is needed to rethink how to define the boundary between the nature and the urban on this piece of empty plot in the new city development area. While working on the project, architects are trying to answer the question, would it  be possible to combine the high-density city with the atmosphere of the nature to create an energetic urban public space for the future, so people will re-connected their emotion with the nature.


The installation approaches those issues by creating a green open space spreading on the ground level of the city, where the natural and man-made landscape cross over with each other, existing in different dimensions both indoors and outdoors. The clear boundary of the site thus becomes blurred. While walking to their urban destination, people will feel as if they are sometimes walking in the nature. Above that, a series of buildings rise in the fog with flowing lines, changing smoothly as integrity, resolving the vertical power and the height competition, and the city skyline that used to be controlled by technology and power is now back to the artistic mood of faraway-so-close that our ancients have perceived in the nature. 


Absolute Towers in Mississauga, (completed)

MAD Architects won an international competition to design the towers, which is part of a larger five tower development project in the downtown area of Mississauga in Canada. The project was aimed to provide important residential space for the city as well as create a landmark tower for the rapidly growing Toronto suburb. MAD Architects didn’t want to build the same old boring boxy tower, so they designed one with a lot of curves. It’s so curvy in fact that locals are calling them the Marilyn Monroe Towers. The curves are created by slightly rotating each floor plate by a few degrees, which alters the profile and gives them their distinct shape. Tower A is 56 stories and 170 meters tall, while Tower B is 50 stories and 150 meters tall.

© Iwan Baan

Nature also play an important role in the design of the towers and MAD wanted each resident to have access to nature through their views. Balconies encircle the building on every floor and provide additional living space for residents. Natural ventilation and daylighting reach in through operable windows and doors and the floor to ceiling glass exterior. The wide balconies work to aid in solar passive design – shading the interior in the summer and letting in warm sun during the winter, which helps reduce the energy load for cooling and heating.

© Tom Arban

Harbin Cultural Center in Xiangfang (on going)

Harbin Cultural Island is located in the natural landscape of the large riverside wetland north of Songhua River in China, neighboring Harbin's new district and the Wild Siberian Tiger Park. The entire project covers an area of 1.8 square kilometers, with a construction area of 79,000 square meters. It is part of the development north of Sun Island, which is an important natural habitat in the north of China. In February 2010, MAD won the competition to design the cultural center on the island. The entire building is expected to be completed in 2014 when the Harbin July summer concert will be held.

© MAD Architects

Influenced by both Chinese and Russian culture, Harbin is reputed as the music capital of the north. Different from other theater buildings that are normally located in the urban center, Harbin Grand Theater will not act as an isolated landmark for the city, but the natural continuation of the human spirit. Apart from regional protection and utilization of the wetland ecosystem, Harbin Theater, Harbin Labor Recreation Center, Harbin Great Square and the Wetland Park together compose the Harbin Cultural Island, to join culture, art and nature in an integrated environment.

© MAD Architects

Surrounded by rivers, the Cultural Island embraces the wide riverbank as its background appearing as a glacier stretching and connecting to each other into a cohesive whole. The main entrance mimics a jade belt bridge spanning the wetlands and connecting the city and the cultural center together. The movement of the terrain strategically directs the flow of people from different directions to the entrance of Harbin Theater and Harbin Labor Recreation Center. The external ramp of the Grand Theater, resembling a mountain path formed by gusting winds, guides people from the interior to the exterior. Walking along the landscape passage, visitors are able to appreciate the surrounding cultural and natural landscape. Atop the highest point of these buildings, visitors are able to enjoy a panoramic view of the surrounding scenery as if they are on top of a mountain.

The grand theatre takes the natural beauty of the north as its premise. In an attempt to reduce such a large volume, the architectural form is a continuation of the natural  environment as it becomes part of the landscape. The entire building acts as an undulating snow covered mountain, following a natural rhythm.

© MAD Architects

Ove Arup & Partners

Ove Arup was an Anglo-Danish engineer who founded Arup Group Limited in 1946, as a multinational corporation that offers engineering, design, planning, project management, and consulting services for building systems.

At first Arup came to the world’s attention with the structural design of the Sydney Opera House, followed by its work on the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Arup has since grown into a truly multidisciplinary organisation. Most recently, its work for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing has reaffirmed its reputation for delivering innovative and sustainable designs that reinvent the built environment. Arup brings together broad-minded individuals from a wide range of disciplines and encourages them to look beyond the constraints of their own specialisms.

Sydney Opera House (completed)

Sydney Opera House is an astonishing architectural – and engineering – feat. With its shimmering sails, this exhilarating building has come to define its city and even the nation of Australia. Beyond its iconic status, the Opera House is a busy performing arts centre, home of Opera Australia, The Australian Ballet and the Sydney Symphony.

Design of the Opera House began in the 1950s. Ove Arup was engaged early in the design, and began to turn a daring concept into a physical reality. Arup’s engineers confronted an engineering challenge that has since become one of the profession’s epic tales - the design and construction of the building’s enormous, pre-cast concrete shells. The complex design work for the shells was achieved through the pioneering use of computers to model the roof and analyse its structure.

The Opera House opened in 1973 and since then, Arup has continued to partner its custodians in the care and maintenance of this extraordinary building, most recently with design work for a programme of refurbishment and upgrades. In 2007, Arup helped lay the groundwork for a facilities management system for the Opera House that could assist with management of the 35-year-old building’s systems and operations and provide a framework for future refurbishments.

© Flickr - User: Jong Soo (Peter) Lee

© Flickr – User: fstop22

© John Dalkin

Istanbul International Financial Centre 

The Turkish government’s goal for the landmark project is to establish Istanbul as a global center for finance. The IIFC will house the head offices of the country’s financial market governing bodies, state-owned and private banks, and related businesses. It will include 45 million square feet of office, residential, retail, conference, hotel and park space.

HOK’s master plan provides a framework for developing a sustainable financial center in a way that blends human need, environmental stewardship and economic viability into a new global model of urbanism rooted in Turkish culture. The plan creates four distinct districts focusing on culture, commerce, civic functions and governance. The site offers easy accessibility and views to the historic center of Istanbul.

At the Masterplan Design Guideline Preparation Stage Arup provided a combination of services, such as geotechnical, infrastructural, structural, mechanical, electrical, transportation, sustainability, security design services 


The new area will bring the key banking institutes together. Once the current plans for the area are realised, the Financial Centre district will become a focal point not only for Istanbul or Turkey, but also for the international finance and business circles.

The project spans to 70ha of land and the estimated population of the area is around 30,000 people.


As part of an international multidisciplinary team led from Istanbul, Arup’s Resilience, Security and Risk Practice developed a comprehensive threat analysis and security concept for the city's new financial zone, being developed in the Asian suburbs of the city.

The IIFC will have an anticipated working day population of 100,000 people all protected by best-in-class security systems. 



EARTH ASIA DESIGN GROUP is one of Asia’s largest multidisciplinary design practices. With over 25 years experience, EADG has been responsible for numerous successful projects ranging from prestigious residential projects to large complex high profile projects. ??Current representative projects include the Beijing Olympic Athletes Village, Olympic Aquatic Park, Macau City of Dreams in China, and the Greening Masterplan for Mongkok and Yau Mau Tei in Hong Kong. Recent growth in the real estate market throughout China has enabled the practice to expand from its base in Hong Kong into Mainland China with new offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Wuhan, and Chengdu transforming EADG into an international practice. ??With resources from across the globe, EADG has design teams with international experience that can materialise client dreams into conceptual master plans and onto wonderfully built environments with true beauty. As EADG continues to strengthen in all areas of built environment design, the practice will always remain focused on the pursuit of design excellence.