MAD architects studio visit : fish tank MAD architects studio visit : fish tank
nov 23, 2009

MAD architects studio visit : fish tank

the goldfish in the MAD office image © designboom

earlier this month, designboom visited beijing’s headquarters of MAD architects. the studio is representing the avant-garde of a new generation of homegrown chinese talent. the architects examine and develop a unique concept of futurism, exploring a renewed understanding of nature and advanced technology. MAD define architecture as a man-made symbiosis, in harmony with nature, giving people the freedom to develop their own independent urban experience.

‘actually we treat people the same way as fish – they have to feel the space.’ – ma yansong, one of the 3 principals and founder of MAD architects says. MAD architects started in 2004 and one of their first works was a fish tank. the project won the young architects award in new york and was exhibited at the beijing architectural biennale and featured in the national art museum of china the same year. the fish tank experiment maybe illustrates best the ongoing research of the architects. a similar concept can be seen in some of their most recent works, among them the erdos museum in inner mongolia, which is currently nearing completion.

a view into one room of MAD architects’ studio, the fish tank is the first model displayed in a timeline detailing MAD’s project history image © designboom

the fish tank was developed by ma yansong and yosuke hayano in 2004 image © designboom

the goldfish in the MAD office image © designboom

the goldfish in the MAD office image © designboom

‘are you human? are you fish? air and water change roles, concept of inner and outer blurs (…).‘ – states ma yansong image © designboom

fish tank was made of resins by stereo lithography modeling, size: 300 x 300 x 400 mm image © designboom

computer aided drawing of fish tank, 2004 image courtesy MAD architects‘we tracked the movement trajectory of fish that live in a non organized, open space. different from human being’s living space, the fish world is relatively free of gravity restriction. this data of fish movement trajectory was the initial driving force for our design strategy in maximizing and optimizing the usage of limited space. our morphogenesis design process analyzed the trajectories in a 3-dimensional space and it showed a high frequency of fish movement around the edges. hence smoothing edges became our experimental objective. the external surface is ‘strained’ inwards and connects with other external surfaces. the internal and the external space are dynamically related and create an ambiguous space.’ – ma yansong

designboom editor-in-chief birgit lohmann and ma yansong of MAD architects in front of the model of the erdos museum image © designboom

the internal spatial organization of the erdos museum looks familiar … image courtesy MAD architects

‘the erdos museum is located in a city that is currently being built in a place where there was nothing but the gobi desert. the municipal government of erdos has created an urban masterplan, entitled ‘ever rising sun on the grass land’. the erdos museum will be created at the centre of this new city. our concept is a reflection and a reaction to the masterplan. the design is a natural, irregular nucleus, to contrast with the planned city; to provide interior scenery completely separate to that which is outside. the museum is wrapped in reflective metal louvers. the surface of the museum thus reflects and fragments the surroundings.’ – ma yangsong

  • great insight

    Jose (Herman) says:
  • ..its difficult to clean..and the curved walls are harmful for fishes eyes..
    like a concept or like a sculpture its a fishbowl not..please take out those fishes..

    marcedm says:
  • since when do we know, that even little fishes are able to suffer? awfull!

    uwe says:
  • i agreee with marcedm….

    free fishes!!!

    elena says:

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