Huangshan Mountain Village
by MAD


Chinese firm MAD has today unveiled plans for a village of towering apartment blocks beside the Huangshan Mountains in eastern China (+ slideshow).

MAD unveils Huangshan Mountain Village

Inspired by the topographical layers of the landscape, the buildings will have organically shaped floor plates and will emerge from amongst the treetops on a site beside the Taiping Lake.

MAD unveils Huangshan Mountain Village

MAD hopes that the new community will give many Chinese residents access to the impressive landscape that has inspired painters for many years.

MAD unveils Huangshan Mountain Village

"We hope that residents will not just look at the scenery, but see themselves in relation to this environment," said MAD founder Ma Yansong. "In observing oneself, one perhaps begins to notice a different self than the one present in the city."

MAD unveils Huangshan Mountain Village

The architect also explained how the poetry of the place inspired the design. "The impression we have of Taiping Lake in Huangshan is vague. Each visit to this place yields different views, different impressions. A bit mysterious, like ancient landscape paintings, never based on realism but rather, the imagination. This vague feeling is always poetic; it is obscure and indistinct," he said.

MAD unveils Huangshan Mountain Village

Set to complete in 2014 , the community will accommodate 700 apartments, as well as a hotel and other community facilities.

MAD unveils Huangshan Mountain Village

Today we also reported that Chinese architects Neri&Hu think architects in China have lost their way, while last month Aric Chen, the creative director of Beijing Design Week, told Dezeen that China needs to "slow down".

MAD unveils Huangshan Mountain Village

We've featured a few major projects in China recently, including Zaha Hadid's Galaxy Soho complex in Beijing and Neri&Hu's Design Republic Commune in Shanghai.

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Here's some more information from MAD:

MAD unveils Huangshan Mountain Village

MAD Architects today unveiled plans for a high-density village near the Huangshan Mountains (Yellow Mountain) in Anhui Province, central China. The low-rise residences echo the contours of the surrounding topography and offer unequalled access to one of China’s most famous landscapes.

Modern people live in a competitive society with firm belief in efficiency; hence they find it difficult to understand why characters portrayed in Chinese paintings would brave torturous mountain paths to reach the top simply to enjoy a tea in a pavilion.

Located near Huangshan Mountains, the site of verdant scenery and limestone cliffs have long inspired artists and offered sheltered spaces for contemplation and reflection. Yet, as an increasingly popular tourist destination – further exposed by its UNESCO Heritage status – it risks to compromise this iconic landscape.

MAD’s design affirms the inherent significance of this landscape. Composed in deference to the local topography, the village provides housing, a hotel and communal amenities organized in a linked configuration across the southern slope of Taiping Lake. As its form evokes the geology of the region, the village blurs the boundaries between the geometries of architecture and nature.

For residents, the apartments will be a quiet retreat - an immersive, natural space. All apartments have spacious balconies which overlook the lake. Communal amenities and walking paths encourage residents to wander among the buildings. Each floor of each building is unique and accessed from shared social spaces, creating a seamless balance between private and public spaces. The same serene design sensibility of natural environment extends to the interior of the apartments. The use of local materials and the incorporation of plants and greenery enhance levels of comfort and well-being while simultaneously setting up a closer connection with local culture.

The village will have seven hundred apartments and is scheduled to be completed by 2014.

  • Tommy

    Guys, refer to earlier post on Neri&Hu and their commentary on China’s architectural profession.

    MAD is exactly one of those lost ones.

  • Remy

    I’m a doctor, not an architect or anybody who design things, but I think this is brilliant.

  • I like what appears to be general sporadic developments twisting up between the treetop canopies. I would however not characterise this project as low-rise as stated but perhaps this would add something to the scheme if it was. The effect of them coming through the trees would be strengthened if they were not so prominent in the skyline but just popping up here and there.

    Furthermore, the incorporation of more local planting and water at various levels when looking down from an upper level to a lower level could potentially give the calming effect of isolation and personal space in a large complex aiming to seemingly blend with the surrounding vegetation.

    The fact that the developments are interconnected at a raised level is something of a nice touch and we're beginning to see more and more of this around the world, something which sadly hasn't seemed to catch on yet in the UK. This is disappointing for the UK as we as a society are spending more and more time in high-rise structures on a day-to-day basis.

    All in all a cool project.

  • Larias

    Dharma initiative now recruiting.

  • Jia Wei

    It seems like Marnyi stones, which are built around the lake or on the top of the mountain in Tibet. Too much glass and the abstract shape make it look too modern. I’m afraid the buildings could not blend perfectly with the landscape.

  • Really great project and hope it gets built, Jia. Looking at the concept model it seems to me that the form could not flow with the existing contours any better than they have achieved.

  • The_Pinchhitter

    Did they look to Zaha Hadid’s Galaxy Soho in Beijing for inspiration?

  • CCC

    MAD has a history of doing buildings similar to this – look at their Missaugua Towers, Urban Forest, or even the Taichung Convention Center interiors.

  • Novalinnhe

    I seem to be in the minority, but I think these are absolutely beautiful! When I saw the preview for this in the sidebar I nearly choked on what I was eating. High-rise structures almost never work within such “natural” contexts – but these are perhaps as seamless to the surrounding environment as a man-made structure can get.

    It’s as though the complex is simply a continuation of the undulating mountain landscape you can see behind it. Like they got some tracing paper, drew the rough shapes of the mountain in the background, and began building from there. It’s extremely modern, but really sympathetic to the context and soooo gorgeous! Huge fan as you can tell! c:

  • daveo

    It looks like Hadid’s Galaxy Soho drawn freehand, by a 6 year old.

  • DaDa

    Oh my God! Stop saying that it looks like Zaha Hadid’s Galaxy Soho, because it does not! Even the Absolute Towers look more like that (the oval floors, but that’s it!) This one is so different and I totally agree with Novalinnhe. It fits! It’s one with the landscape! I love it. I hope the materials of the facades will be appropriate and well-done.

  • Finally a modern-looking build that I actually like the design of. It’s great to see something like this after the waves of blocky uninspired messy towers. Combining parts of this with the often used but rarely-used-well trend of green roofing could create a nice hanging-gardens effect too.