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Ma Yansong began his journey in the world of architecture at Zaha Hadid’s office. In 2004, he formed his own company, MAD Architects, along with Dang Qun and Yosuke Hayano. MAD Architects is a global architecture firm developing futuristic, organic, technologically advanced designs, being the most innovative and dynamic architecture practice of contemporary China. Now, their first complete monograph Mad Works Mad Architects is released by Phaidon publications, “a must have for every architect’s and designer’s library.”

“People often ask what ‘MAD’ stands for; sometimes, I explain it stands for MA Design, but I like MAD (adjective) Architects better. It sounds like a group of architects with an attitude towards design and practice. I think it is important to practice architecture with an attitude, to be critical and sensitive to the issues and challenges in our world.”

MAD Architects: First architecture firm to take on the mannequin challenge!

The hardcover volume includes 28 projects of completed works, unrealized proposals, and future ideas. It is organized thematically by conceptual influence and divided into five chapters, named after Ma Yansong’s five art pieces: fish tank, ink ice, feelings are facts, Shanshui City and Beijing 2050. In this book, Ma Yansong presents MAD Architects’ new experimental practices and the development of their ideas through art, research, and exhibitions. It also includes a collaboration with Olafur Eliasson on the installation piece Feelings are Facts, as well a critical essay on Ma Yansong’s philosophical vision on MAD Architects.


MAD Works is an overview of MAD Architects extraordinary international portfolio, including projects such as the Absolute Towers in Canada, the Ordos Museum – a symbol of “ever rising sun” – and Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Chicago, which was the first overseas culture landmark designed by a Chinese architect. Most of MAD’s latest projects follow the conception of “Shanshui City”, creating a new balance among society, the city and the environment through new architectural forms.


“We want to connect architecture to nature and create very emotional and spiritual spaces for everyday life. How do you bring modern architecture into the future and connect humans with nature?” are some of the controversial observations featured in the book. Along with photographs, drawings, and renderings, MAD Works gives us a thorough approach to MAD Architects innovative work and their vision of the humanistic future of architecture.


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