12 MAD architecture models showcase the studio's wildest shapes
MAD Architecture models acquired by Centre Pompidou
A model of Pingtan Art Museum is in the collection. Photo by Shu He

12 MAD architecture models showcase the studio's wildest buildings

These twelve architectural models show off 10 of the futuristic buildings created by Beijing-based architecture studio MAD, including a floating island and a mountain range.

The models have been bought by Centre Pompidou in Paris, the iconic inside-out cultural centre built by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers in the 1970s. An exhibition displaying the acquisitions will open in April 2019.

MAD Architecture models acquired by Centre Pompidou
Model of MAD's rock-shaped Chaoyang Park Plaza.

MAD, which was founded by Chinese architect Ma Yansong in 2004, specialises in buildings that take forms found in nature and exaggerate them to almost alien-like proportions.

This collection showcases 10 key projects, completed, under construction and unbuilt concepts, undertaken by the architecture practice, which also has offices in Los Angeles and Rome.

MAD Architecture models acquired by Centre Pompidou
A model of MAD's Nanjing Zendai Himalayas Centre is also in the collection. Photo by CreatAR Images

A model of the Pingtan Art Museum, an unbuilt concept, shows how galleries would have been suspended in the water of a reservoir on Pingtan island.

Cave-like spaces will be embedded in the museum's humpback shape, which was to be cast from concrete mixed with local sand and shells, connecting to the mainland via an undulating bridge.

MAD Architecture models acquired by Centre Pompidou
This model is of the Yabuli Conference Centre in Chinese mountains. Photo by CreatAR Images

Scale replicas of the Chaoyang Park Plaza development in Beijing and the Nanjing Zendai Himalayas Centre show off the soaring towers MAD designs that look like mountain ranges rendered in obsidian and glass.

The upcoming Yabuli CEF Conference Centre, also represented in the 12-strong collection, takes it's shape from the snow-capped mountains it will be set in

MAD Architecture models acquired by Centre Pompidou
Two of the MAD models in the Centre Pompidou's collection are of the Harbin Opera House. Photo is by Shu He

Two models in the collection illustrate the design of the Harbin Opera House, a three-petalled volume clad in smooth white aluminium that echoes the topography of the surrounding marshy landscape.

Another model in the collection is of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles, which has just broken ground. Dedicated to the Star Wars creator, the spaceship-like museum will feature a green roof that visitors will be able to walk along.

MAD Architecture models acquired by Centre Pompidou
A cutaway model of Clover House shows how MAD turned the residence into a kindergarten

Other MAD buildings with models in the Centre Pompidou collection are Clover House, a residential building in Japan that was turned into a kindergarten featuring a slide along one wall, and Paris' UNIC Residential block that will have an wavy profile of curving balconies.

Models of Canada's Absolute Towers, nicknamed the Marylin Monroe towers for their curvaceous profile, and of unbuilt project East 34th will also go on display in April.

MAD Architecture models acquired by Centre Pompidou
This model shows how this Paris apartment block will have undulating terraces around the exterior

Displays of architectural models are a chance for design fans to get up close with the work of their favourite architects.

Last year the Royal Academy of Arts in London put on an exhibition of models of Italian architect Renzo Piano's buildings, arranged as if in a single city. New York's MoMA put on a show that featured the futuristic cities of Congolese sculptor Bodys Isek Kingelez.

Photography courtesy of MAD unless otherwise stated.

More images

MAD Architecture models acquired by Centre Pompidou
Photo by Fang Zhenning
MAD Architecture models acquired by Centre Pompidou
MAD Architecture models acquired by Centre Pompidou
MAD Architecture models acquired by Centre Pompidou