MAD wins approval for first European project
after four years of negotiations

| 12 comments
MAD wins approval for first European project after four years of negotiations

News: Ma Yansong's Beijing studio MAD has been granted permission to drastically remodel a 1970s block in Rome, to create a residential complex featuring tree-covered terraces and translucent metallic walls.

MAD wins approval for first European project after four years of negotiations

It will be the first built project in Europe by the Chinese firm, whose projects include the horseshoe-shaped Sheraton Huzhou hotel in China and the curvaceous Absolute Towers in Mississauga, Canada.



MAD won a competition in 2010 to overhaul the eight-storey building at 71 Via Boncompagni – a courtyard building attached to an early 20th century chapel – and it has taken four years to get the project approved by local planning authorities.

MAD wins approval for first European project after four years of negotiations

Rather than demolishing and replacing the original building, MAD plans to just remove its facades and strip it back to the structural framework so that transparent walls and open-plan interiors can be added.

MAD wins approval for first European project after four years of negotiations

"Contemporary living in a museum-like city like Rome is often hidden behind its historical facades," said the studio in a statement.

"Through this adaptive rebuild project, this 'open' building will be able to return vitality and urban living to the traditional neighbourhood."

MAD wins approval for first European project after four years of negotiations

A total of 145 apartments, ranging from studio flats to family homes, will be contained within the building.

MAD wins approval for first European project after four years of negotiations

Balconies and terraces will be added along the glazed outer walls, slotted into the gaps between the apartments and the old structural framework.

Trees will be dotted across them, and gaps in the floor plates will allow room for high branches.

MAD wins approval for first European project after four years of negotiations

"The full-height curved glass windows shift and protrude in a controlled choreography between the floor slabs," added MAD.

MAD wins approval for first European project after four years of negotiations

Walls surrounding the courtyard will be re-clad with glass and metal-mesh curtains, offering views down to a new pond. Voids that rise up through the water will allow daylight to filter through to a subterranean car park below.

MAD wins approval for first European project after four years of negotiations

The project is scheduled to complete in 2017.

MAD wins approval for first European project after four years of negotiations

Yansong has recently presented a series of projects encapsulating his concept for "shan-shui city" – a style of architecture based on the landscapes depicted in traditional Chinese paintings.

MAD wins approval for first European project after four years of negotiations

"A shan-shui city is a modern city, a high density urban situation, but we pay more attention to the environment," Yansong told Dezeen in an interview. "We bring waterfalls, we bring in a lot of trees and gardens. We treat architecture as a landscape."


Project credits:

Directors in Charge: Ma Yansong, Dang Qun, Yosuke Hayano
Associate Partner in Charge: Andrea D’Antrassi
Design Team: Zhao Wei, Achille Tortini, Gustavo van Staveren, Giannantonio Bongiorno, Jei Kim, Elin Thorisdottir
General Coordination: Ing. Sergio Schisani
Urban Planner: Studio Busnengo
Local Architect: I.SI. Engineer
Structural Engineering: Tecnic Consulting Engineer S.P.A.

MAD wins approval for first European project after four years of negotiations
Concept diagram – click for larger image
MAD wins approval for first European project after four years of negotiations
Level one floor plan – click for larger image
MAD wins approval for first European project after four years of negotiations
Level three floor plan – click for larger image
MAD wins approval for first European project after four years of negotiations
Level eight floor plan – click for larger image
MAD wins approval for first European project after four years of negotiations
Section – click for larger image
  • pierre

    Trees with no roots, again?

    • spadestick

      Shh! Why did you have to inform them?! You just made them look stupid.

  • stutelf

    Looks good, but won’t the terraces and balconies need railings that will then make it look like any other apartment block?

    • PLB

      Maybe it took four years to obtain approval for terraces without railings.

  • EU

    Just keep working in China, please!

  • pierre

    So they win approval with these images, after four years? Ridiculous.

  • spadestick

    Make that Italian…

  • philippe b

    Finally, it got approved. Well done guys. Curious to see what it will look like in real life. Let’s talk in a few years.

  • Ralph Kent

    Carbon fibre absurdly cantilevering floor plates? CHECK. Large areas of floor-to-ceiling curved glass? CHECK. 200mm planting for established trees? CHECK.

  • http://be.net/bassel Bassel

    The “insert garden” theme has been under-utilized here for the sake of sleekness. I hope they execute the building more liberally with generous, hearty, aromatic piles of Italian soil.

  • studio

    Hey! Your roots are interfering with my TV reception.

  • http://www.theidlearchitect.com/ The Idle Architect

    Another interesting student project…