Shanshui City, the latest book from MAD Architects’ founder and principal partner, Ma Yansong, will be released in mainland China this October. The publishing of the book coincides with the 10th anniversary of the founding of MAD Architects.
Ma’s poetic yet precise language details the development and practice of the “Shanshui City” design philosophy, at the core of which is the idea that “architects should delineate a new ideal for the city of the future, to gradually construct an urban environment that embodies both the convenience of the modern city and the ancient Eastern affinity for the natural world.”
"Shanshui" is an idealized worldview developed by Chinese artists through extended contact with the natural world, a worldview that integrates the everyday life of humanity with the impulse to seek spiritual refuge in nature. This "Shanshui City" is not simply an eco-city, or a garden-city, nor does it imply modeling the city's architecture on natural forms such as mountains. It represents humanity's affinity for the natural world, and our quest for inner fulfillment, as expressed in philosophies of the East.
Hans Ulrich Obrist, acclaimed curator and critic, stated in the preface, “This book is a chronicle of Ma Yansong's explorations of an ‘exacerbated’ landscape. It is about projects, but also about a daily practice of and in the city. It is a manifesto for a new global vernacular of the age of technological supremacy of the landscape.” Distinguished graphic designer Kenya Hara, designer of the book, said in his preface, “Shanshui City will be the momentous milestone that carries ‘Shanshui,’ the eastern wisdom and architecture ideology. Its impact is beyond imagination.” Acclaimed architecture critic Wang Mingxian and scholar Li Xiangning also penned review articles for the book.
The Chinese version will be published by Imaginist. The English Version will be published by Lars Müller Publishers and released internationally in early 2015.
To mark the release of Shanshui City, Ma Yansong will hold an accompanying exhibition at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) from September 27th to October 7th during Beijing International Design Week. On the afternoon of September 27th, Ma will host a Shanshui City Forum with renowned art and architecture scholars and critics. The exhibition will officially open on the night of September 27th.