When visionary architect Ma Yansong’s “Train Station in the Forest” opens this summer in China’s Jiaxing, it will transform the site from a mere pedestrian departure point to a megadestination for travelers and tourists alike.
With this latest project, Ma—whose Beijing-based MAD Architects designed Absolute World condo towers in Toronto; Clover House kindergarten in Okazaki, Japan; the Conrad Beijing hotel; China’s Harbin Opera House; and Paris’ UNIC residential development—cements his reputation as the master of the Shanshui City.
Derived from “shan” (mountain in Chinese) and “shui” (water), the Shanshui City concept, which was proposed by noted Chinese scientist Qian Xuesen in the 1980s, aims to bring humans and nature closer in urban contexts.
The term, which also references a traditional type of Chinese landscape painting, is rooted in the ancient practice of siting cities based on observations of earth and water and on Chinese emperors’ strategies of choosing locations surrounded by natural environments to protect properties from enemy assaults.
From the beginning of his career, Ma, who founded his architectural firm in 2004 and has a master’s degree in architecture from Yale University, has made significant contributions to urban architecture.
A world judge at the 2018 Prix Versailles, Ma, 45, has received a number of accolades, including Good Design’s 2013 Designer of the Year Award and the 2013 Young Architect Award of China Architecture Design in the 21st Century.