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this soft rooftop by MAD architects mimics fresh powder on the mountains of yabuli

the tent below the snowy peaks


MAD Architects sculpts this tent-like structure beneath the snowy mountains of Yabuli, a ski town in China‘s Heilongjiang Province. The town is well-known as hosts is the largest snow training center in the country, and the longest alpine ski slope in Asia. 


While Yabuli is renowned as an international destination, the massive project will introduce a wide range of programs suited to accomodate the large amount of visitors. Programming includes a library, exhibition halls, and more than 20 well-equipped multi-functional rooms. Going forward, the space will host the annual China Entrepreneurs Forum (CEF), the Chinese Entrepreneurs Museum, and other similar conferences and corporate programs — all below one sculptural roof.

MAD yabuli congress centerimages courtesy of MAD architects | @madarchitects



architecture like fresh powder


the team at MAD Architects (see more here) designs its Yabuli congress center to visually blend into the rolling, snow-covered hills of its natural context. From afar, the structure suggests colossal white tent which might float down the slopes before softly dissipating into the snow. The gentle profile of the roof echoes that of the distant snow-capped mountains while the texture of the white aluminum panels implies a wind-blown softness like fresh powder.

MAD yabuli congress center



MAD architects’ underground congress center


Inside, MAD architects organizes its Yabuli Congress Center to adapt to the dramatic slope of its site. The layout and circulation levels the interiors so that part of the building is embedded into the earth. The main entrance is on the ground floor by the east side but the side entrance and exit are located on the second floor by the west side. While walking uphill in the snow, people see this structure as a humble gesture with open arms. The far ends of the curved roof cantilever up to 20 meters to provide shelter for passersby from the snow and winds.


Meanwhile, floor-to-ceiling glass curtain walls frame both the east and west sides of the building, while the north and south facades blend into the sunken courtyard landscape. All MEP terminals are designed to be not visible while the louvered openings are set in the sunken garden underground, allowing for a smooth visual continuity between the curve on the façade and the interior walls.

MAD yabuli congress center
the soft geometry of the aluminum roof implies a blanket of fresh snow

MAD yabuli congress center
MAD architects celebrates the mountains of Yabuli with its sculptural congress center

MAD yabuli congress centerthe cantilevering roof provides shelter from the snow and winds


warm, timber interiors create a welcoming oasis from the icy surroundings

MAD yabuli congress centera skylight overhead floods the space with natural sunlight


the undulating interiors continue the softness of the project’s signature rooftop



project info:


project title: yabuli entrepreneurs congress center

architecture: MAD architects | @madarchitects

location: Yabuli, Heilongjiang Province, China


principal partners in charge: Ma Yansong, Dang Qun, Yosuke Hayano
associate partners in charge: Liu Huiying, Tiffany Dahlen
design team: Li Guangchong, Sun Shouquan, Deng Wei, Song Chi, Zhang Xiaomei, Huai Wei, Zhao Meng, Wang Shuobin, Zhang Yanru, Yuki Ishigami, Xiao Ying, Tian Jin


client: China Entrepreneur Forum
executive architects: China Architecture Design & Research Group
façade consultant: RFR Shanghai, Kighton Façade Consultant
landscape architects: BJF International Design
interior design consultant: Shanghai Xian Dai Architectural Decoration & Landscape Design Research Institute Co., Ltd.
lighting consultant: Brandston Partnership Inc.
signage consultant: Dongdao Creative Branding Group
acoustics consultant: Beijing Tsinghua Tongheng Urban Planning & Design Institute
LEED consultant: AECOM Beijing

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