The Council of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has awarded Ma Yansong, founder of MAD, a prestigious RIBA International Fellowship, the first for a Chinese architect.
RIBA Fellowships reward a contribution to architecture in the broadest sense. According to the jury, Ma, at the age of 35, "has come to architectural maturity at a time when his country is beginning to offer both the freedom of expression so vital to the artist and sufficient freedom to allow his ideas to be realized as buildings. His work expresses the tension between the individual imagination and the needs of society as a whole."
Ma Yansong studied at the Beijing Institute of Civil Engineering and Architecture, holds a Master degree in Architecture from Yale University, and taught Architecture at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing.
Currently Ma Yansong oversees the construction of the 358-meter high Sinosteel Plaza in Tianjin, the Ordos Museum in Inner Mongolia, the Guardian Art Center in Beijing and three cultural buildings in Harbin. Most notably, he won first prize in the 2006 Absolute Towers competition for two residential towers in Mississauga, Canada, which will be completed in 2011.
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