Ma Yansong

Company MAD Architects

Contribution Gardenhouse, Lead Architect

The New Generation of Modern Architecture

Ma Yansong, the wildly imaginative founder of MAD Architects, has been celebrated as many things. A graduate of Yale Architecture School, he began his career under the iconic Zaha Hadid. Now, with offices in his hometown of Beijing, Los Angeles and New York, he and his team have amassed acclaim for their thoughtfully futuristic works of art. To give even the smallest idea of his influence, it should be mentioned that he won 2016’s Most Innovative People Award, the 2006 Young Architects Award and he was named among 2014’s 100 Most Creative People. And the 2012 project entitled Absolute Towers — known lovingly by Mississauga residents as the Marilyn Monroe towers — was lauded as the Best Tall Building in the Americas. Other notable projects include the Harbin Opera House in China and the upcoming Lucas Museum in Los Angeles.

But it’s not the firm’s accomplishments that define its appeal. Indeed, the true culprit lies in the concepts. Specifically, in the Chinese philosophy of Shansui: the balance between staying out of nature and returning to it. Yansong’s vision is one of a future city, where the harmony between man and nature is restored; where one’s emotional response to their surroundings is at the heart of every design.

This approach — global, organic, strikingly modern — has resulted in international works of urban planning, museums, theaters, homes and community renovations, from the banks of the Seine to the heart of Rome and now, Beverly Hills.