MAD Architects is known for its striking building designs that feature impressive curves and futuristic styling, with notable examples including the masterful Harbin Opera House and the as-yet unbuilt Lucas Museum. Its latest project, the Xinhee Design Center, is similarly novel and likened to a building that sports skin and bones.
Commissioned by fashion group Xinhee and located in the southeastern coastal city of Xiamen, the Xinhee Design Center is currently under construction and due for completion in 2017.
While it would be a mistake to draw too close a comparison between MAD's works and those of Zaha Hadid, fans of the latter should find plenty to like in the Xinhee Design Center.
The office building will take a roughly flower-like shape, with a central atrium surrounded by six petal-like volumes extending outwards. Each of these "petals" will contain offices for one of Xiamen's six brands, in addition to generous gardens. The central atrium itself will have a footbridge that doubles up as a catwalk for occasional fashion shows.
To shelter the building from the sun, its entire envelope will be surrounded by a translucent PTFE shade supported by a steel framework, or "skin."
"We envision it as a building with skin-and-bones," says MAD's founding principal Ma Yansong. "The correspondence of clothing and architecture is they both explore the relationship between the interior and the exterior."
Efforts to maximize energy-efficiency include roof-based solar panels, green roof areas, and the design of the atrium itself, which will promote natural ventilation in summer. In addition, a translucent coating will be applied to the building's glazing to allow in enough natural light while still reducing solar heat gain.