Innovative architecture that blurs the boundary between nature and the artificial.
Andrea D’Antrassi is an Associate Partner at MAD Architects, responsible for the European projects of the Chinese firm. As a registered architect in both Italy and Switzerland, and with professional experience from the US, Italy, France, Australia and China, Andrea adds a valuable global vision to MAD. He also has a key role in MAD’s conceptual design competitions.
MAD is well-known for combining organic forms inspired by nature, with a sci-fi tonality and technically-innovative solutions. The goal is to always assist in answering the environmental problems of today. They have been creatively using materials in tremendous ways and have used metal in enchanting, highly esthetic approaches, like as utilizing stainless steel on China Wood Museum, polished aluminum on Ordos Museum, white aluminum panels on both Harbin Operas and the new Yabuli Conference Centre (under construction).
Andrea believes in smart architecture made to respond in a better way to environmental challenges, using hi-tech reusable materials with a low impact on nature. His international experiences shapes exciting architecture based on the Chinese way – where anything can happen combined with the Italian academic and conservative preferences.
Harbin Operas, Harbin, China
Cultural Center with a Site Area of 1,800,000 sqm.
Embedded within the Harbin wetlands, the Harbin Opera House was designed in response to the force and spirit of the northern city’s untamed wilderness and frigid climate. Appearing as if sculpted by wind and water, the white aluminum building seamlessly blends in with nature and the topography—a transfusion of local identity, art, and culture.
The Harbin Opera House emphasizes public interaction and participation with the building. Both ticketholders and the general public alike can explore the façade’s carved paths and ascend the building as if traversing local topography.
Conrad Hotel, Beijing, China
This platinum five-star hotel sits at a busy corner at the east 3rd ring road of Beijing’s CBD, the city’s most modernized district. The exterior aluminium facade is a neural network that reacts to the interior grid structure, moving sinuously as it reaches towards the sky.
To the south of the hotel lies a rare piece of serene nature, the Tuanjiehu Park. The Conrad Hotel serves as a transition between this natural paradise and an otherwise urban terrain. The mutation of the form breaks the monotony of the city, adding fresh energy and raising the expectation of what one can hope for urbanity.
Chaoyang Park Plaza, Beijing, China
“Chaoyang Park Plaza” is positioned on the southern edge of Beijing’s Chaoyang Park ─ the largest remaining park in Beijing’s central business district. The park has a similar position and function as Central Park in Manhattan, but unlike the modern box-like buildings that only create a separation between the park and the city, “Chaoyang Park Plaza” instead is an expansion of nature. It introduces natural forms and spaces ─ “mountain, brook, creek, rocks, valley and forest” ─ into the city. The asymmetrical twin tower office buildings on the north side of the site, sit at the base of the park’s lake and are like two mountain peaks growing out of the water. The transparent and bright atrium acts like a “drawstring” that pulls the two towers together by a connecting glass rooftop structure.
The project has been awarded the LEED Gold Certification by the US Green Building Council, as the ideal of “nature” is not only embodied in the design concept, but in the innovation and integration of green technology as well. The vertical fins seen on the exterior glass and aluminium façade emphasize the smoothness and verticality of the towers. They also function as the energy efficient ventilation and filtration system, drawing fresh air indoors. At the base of the towers there is a pond, that while making them appear as if they are going into infinity, works as an air cooling system in the summer, decreasing the overall temperature of the interior.