Iwan Baan Photographs MAD Architects–Designed Chaoyang Park Plaza

The project’s architecture takes cues from traditional Chinese Shan shui paintings, with its office towers’ inky, undulating exterior evoking the genre’s dramatic mountain peaks.

MAD Architects Chaoyang Park Plaza
Courtesy Iwan Baan

Beijing-based MAD Architects completed this jet-black, 10-building mixed-used complex earlier this year, though we’re getting a good look at it now thanks to photographer Iwan Baan.

Located about four miles from the center of Beijing, the 2.36-million-square-foot development sits adjacent Chaoyang Park, a 713-acre green space that was built in 1984. The architecture of the MAD-designed complex, called Chaoyang Park Plaza, takes cues from traditional Chinese shan shui landscape paintings, with its office towers’ inky, undulating exteriors evoking the genre’s dramatic mountain peaks. The lower-rise buildings are meant to resemble mountain stones that have been shaped by erosion, with their interstitial spaces forming what the firm calls an “open urban garden…a place where people can meet within nature in the middle of the city.”

MAD Architects founder and principal partner Ma Yansong wrote on the firm’s website, “In modern cities, architecture as an artificial creation is seen more as a symbol of capital, power or technological development; while nature exists independently. It is different from traditional Eastern cities where architecture and nature are designed as a whole, creating an atmosphere that serves to fulfill one’s spiritual pursuits.” He added, “We want to blur the boundary between nature and the artificial, and make it so that both are designed with the other in mind. Then, the argument in the modern logic of humans to protect or to destroy nature will no longer exist if we understand and see humans and nature as co-existing.”

More from Metropolis

Baan photographed Chaoyang Park Plaza, which includes Armani-branded apartments, in August when Beijing is hot and humid. While the atmosphere was hazy, the firm wrote that “this is real Beijing, and it offered Iwan Baan the opportunity to photograph MAD’s latest project in its truest environment.”

You may also enjoy “Does Apple’s New Chicago Store Have Something to Say About the Future of Cities?

Recent Projects