One of China’s most innovative architects is taking his Nanjing mixed-use project to the Venice Biennale to show off modern Chinese style to the world. But he first had to shrink the 560,000 square metre project down to size that fit inside a room.
Ma Yansong of MAD Architects is presenting his Nanjing Zendai Himalayas Centre at the 2014 Venice architecture biennale starting this month and a scaled down version of the project, which in real life sits on a 95,000 square metre site has been created especially for the exhibit.
The design is envisioned to display the traditional Chinese ethos of ‘shanshui’: an achieved spiritual harmony between nature and humanity. this theme is carried out by creating unified and contemplative spaces that relate closely with the environment, while also meeting the material needs of current day urban living.
Currently under construction, the real life version of the complex is estimated to be completed in 2017.
According to Ma, the complex’s towers and waterways mimic the surrounding mountains and meandering rivers, which are an essential part of Chinese aesthetic philosophy.
The high-rise structures, located at the edge of the site, are characterized by vertical shading fins and permeable glass screens composed in a visually flowing form, reminiscent of waterfalls. The enclosure system creates interior spaces with plentiful light and ventilation, producing a subtle and calming environment.
The site is composed of six zones, two of which are linked by a vertical public plaza. Curving pathways weave through the commercial complexes, which provide access from the busy ground level to the elevated park, where citizens can wander between buildings and gardens.