ma yansong / MAD travel fellowship event 2013 ma yansong / MAD travel fellowship event 2013
dec 28, 2013

ma yansong / MAD travel fellowship event 2013

MAD architects travel fellowship event 2013




in 2009, ma yansong announced the MAD travel fellowship, an opportunity in which the firm would provide a select group of architecture students the chance to pursue research in their chosen areas of interest by granting them the possibility to travel to a city of their choice to further explore their interests. the ongoing initiative has seen the participation of more than 20 individuals.


in the summer of 2013, the five candidates chosen out of 100 of applications travelled abroad to their selected european destinations for 10-14 days to engage in a cultural and creative exchange. li siqui, wang siyi, dong xiaoxiao, chen xixi and huang yaojun made their independent ways to spain, switzerland, portugal, germany and greece respectively, to study the built environment from a new context.


following their journeys, each one returned to china with new insights and perspectives, and shared their stories at MAD’s beijing office on december 13th, 2013 with an audience that included ma yansong, dang quo (associate of MAD architects), and bao pao (critic and artist).


here is a brief summation of their experiences:


ma yansong (center), with the 2013 MAD travel fellowship participants



li siqi, graduate, tianjin university
destination: spain




architecture is no longer what le corbusier said is the ‘machine for living’. with the progress of society and technology, architecture surpasses its living function, bearing extra meanings. in his journey to spain, li siqi wanted to experience more than just the architectural appearance, space, quality and other physical properties the country had to offer. he wanted to focus more on the sense of existence behind architectures. after experiencing the difference between the passion of spain and the chinese culture of calm, li siqi put his thoughts back to the relation between architecture and nature – looking at the relationship between architecture and sea, with the cliffs, with history…



li siqi travelled to spain to explore the relationship between architecture and the natural environment



wang siyi, undergraduate, china academy of fine art
destination: switzerland




how can one deal with the relationship between cultural tradition, humanistic care, and contemporary development under the realm of te architectural space? on her trip to switzerland, where the land has not yet been fully conquered by modern architecture, wang siyi was hoping to find the answer to that question. abroad, siyi went to visit many schools, which bettered her understanding of architecture and its role as a backdrop and vessel of life, sensibly containing the details of our everyday experiences.



wang siyi travelled to switzerland to see how architecture stands as a backdrop to the details of our everyday lives




dong xiaoxiao, graduate, tsinghua universtiy
destination: portogual




dong xiaoxiao is obsessed with horizontality, and out of his love for the works of alvaro siza vieira, he chose portugual as the destination of his journey. after putting himself in the actual context of architectural space, he found out that reading without actual experiencing something in the flesh, could easily lead one to misunderstanding. 



dong xiaoxiao travelled to portugal to experience the work of alvaro siza




chen xixi, undergraduate, harbin institute of technology
destination: germany




one question deeply interests chen xixi: how did post-war germany digest national trauma and deal with city development? different from his assumption, cities in germany and austria indicate not that much desire compared with chinese cities. instead, what is cared most in the architecture which he evaluated in the cities he visited, is the ordinary but complex everyday life.



chen xixi travelled to germany to get a better understanding of post-war architecture



huang yaojun, undergraduate, zhongnan university
destination: greece



for huang yaojun, architecture is the carrier of life and memory – that attracts him to the rich tradition of ancient greek cities, where he seeks the links between people, nature and architecture. there, the long living tradition of the town maintains history, while also discouraging unwanted development. in china, the disappearance of old architecture brings away the living memory of people’s life; resulting in new cities full of vitality, but also of conflict. in this reality, what is the right way to observe and criticize?



huang yaojun travelled to greece to experience first hand the rich history the country’s architecture has to offer





it is only through travel – the visceral experience of walking into a space – that one can understand architecture in its full context.’ – MAD architects

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