MAD's undulating seashell gets down to business in China
Looking a bit like a strange oversized seashell among the snowy mountains of northeast China, MAD Architects' Yabuli Entrepreneurs' Congress Center does a fine job showcasing the firm's trademark futuristic curving style. The project, underway since 2017, is now almost complete.
The Yabuli Entrepreneurs' Congress Center is located in the same province as MAD's Harbin Opera House and there are echoes of that superb project in this one too. It's defined by a white undulating exterior and has a cavernous wooden interior that's naturally illuminated with a skylight, as well as carefully positioned glazing that frames the view. The firm itself likens the building's design to an tent, and it takes its place very well indeed in the mountainous terrain.
"Nestled among Yabuli's mountainous terrain, MAD's scheme evokes the concept of a tent sitting at the foot of a mountain, with its soft, curving, silver-white rooftop echoing the snow-capped hills surrounding it," says its press release. "During the day, natural light floods the internal spaces through a giant glass skylight. At night, the same skylight allows a warm glow to soar from the building into the cold mountain forest, evoking the image of a campfire around which entrepreneurs share ideas, thoughts, and stories. Inside, a blend of wooden walls and natural light create a warm, soft atmosphere, while an outdoor public plaza and glass walkway allow users to marvel and be inspired by the connection between architecture and nature."
The building reaches a maximum height of 23.3 m (76.4 ft) and has a total floorspace of 16,198 sq m (roughly 175,000 sq ft). As well as the conference center, it also contains an exhibition hall, meeting rooms, and a television hall.
Though it's not quite officially completed yet, the venue is now in use and has already hosted its first summit of 600 entrepreneurs.