At the southern edge of the largest remaining park in Beijing’s financial district, theten mixed-use buildings of Chaoyang Park Plaza are distributed across an area of over 30,000 square metres. Their arrangement on the site appears quite random, almost like rock formations in nature. The two asymmetrical office towers rise on the banks of a lake like mountain peaks emerging from the water. Together with the lower-rise residential and commercial buildings, they define the in-between spaces, planted with pines and bamboo. In this way, the green areas and water surfaces of the adjoining park are continued in the complex.
For this project, MAD Architects took inspiration from the landscape images of traditional Shanshui painting (shan & shui = mountain & water). These are mostly drawn solely in black ink, and represent the pristine, traditional China. The paintings are characterised by meandering, irregular lines that reflect the contours of the Chinese highlands, rather like a topographic map – a formal language that is consciously taken up in the amorphous, dark-glass building structures. Thus, the ensemble not only stands out clearly from its surroundings, it also symbolises a return to the Chinese sense of the organic.
Through his designs Ma Yansong, head of MAD Architects, has not only criticised the ongoing urban development in Beijing but he also aims to inspire the development of a uniquely Chinese architectural language.