MAD Architects will present their latest project, the Nanjing Zendai Himalayas Center, at next week’s 14th Venice Architecture Biennale. Designed in their signature "Shanshui" style that infuses Chinese landscape principles into the built environment, the city-scale urban project features mountain-like towers that mimic the surrounding topography. The 140-acre site will act as a harmonious link between nature and Nanjing's rapidly modernizing cityscape.
Located in one of China’s most historically and culturally significant cities, the Nanjing Zendai Himalayas Center will strive to preserve traces of the city’s historic past while celebrating its high-tech innovations. Inspired by the “shanshui” style of traditional Chinese landscape painting, the “Shanshui City” consists of an artificial landscape that blends mountain-shaped towers above a riverine environment. The site, which is divided into six lots, feature curving corridors that weave through commercial complexes and connect people from the street level to the elevated vertical gardens.
The mountain-like towers frame the constructed river valley landscape and a cluster of low, village-like buildings. The addition of footbridges, waterfalls, and meandering rivers complete the bucolic Chinese imagery. In addition to its aesthetic appeal, the undulating glass towers are equipped with vertical sun shading as well as rainwater recycling and reservoir systems.
MAD Architects will showcase the project and their “shanshui” design philosophy in the art installation called the “Silhouette Shanshui” at the start of the Biennale next week. The Nanjing Zendai Himalayas Center is currently under construction and is slated for completion in 2017.