Eco-friendly Fake Hills in Beihai, China: MAD Architects

New Chinese Architecture: Fake Hills project by MAD Architects

New Chinese Architecture: Fake Hills project by MAD Architects (image courtesy MAD Architects)

This Chinese firm, with its “MAD”-ly distinct sustainable building designs has managed to carve a niche for itself for sure.

MAD Architects’ under-construction Fake Hills project in the Chinese coastal town of Beihai beats the current global trend of stand-alone monuments becoming sustainability symbols. This iconic 492,369sqm residential project combines high-density, economically viable housing with architectural innovation and aims at challenging the usual boring “standardize and make cheaply available” residential project solutions.

Design Concept for Fake Hills

The Fake Hills project is being developed on a long narrow waterfront site in Beihai.

Becoming an un-missable landmark for the city, while also providing a high-density housing solution, the Fake Hills derive their conceptual structure from traditional Chinese architecture’s intrigue with nature. Instead of being situated amidst a brilliantly manicured lawn (as one often sees with large landmark developments) the structure of the development manifests itself as a man-made version of naturally contoured land, becoming fake hills with little homes all over for inhabitants.

According to MAD Architects, the design concept for Fake Hills aimed at bringing together two typologies that most commonly define residential developments in China: high rise towers and long, low rise blocks, creating an awe-inspiring structure with an undulating roof, long slab and circular openings.

The design solution is produced by cutting into the slab and creating a sculpted form obviously referential to the shape of the hills – a landscape that dominates the surrounding area, while cutting through the structure all along the development allows views for the homes and also lets light and air flow through the structure.

This specific mix of elements maximizes the ocean-views for the residents, while the entire composition forms a colossal transition between the waterfront and the land behind it.

How Green will the Fake Hills be ?

Fake Hills in Beihai, China by MAD Architects

Fake Hills in Beihai, China by MAD Architects

Presenting itself as a single monolithic wall, the Fake Hills project promises equal solar exposure to all apartments built within, hence maximizing the flow of natural light in the buildings. The architects claim that this will significantly reduce consumption of energy in the development.

Effective ventilation is facilitated by openings in the structure as well as undulations in the roofline which while allowing light to penetrate through the building all across the development, also help underplay the overwhelming scale of the building a wee bit.

The almost-half-million sq. mt. development is capped by a series of green roof-gardens all along the various levels of the development, towards ensuring cleaner air in the surrounding area, while also regulating the interior temperature.

MAD Architects

A design firm based in Beijing, MAD has very quickly become well-known world-over for their innovative architectural practices, landscape designs and urban planning solutions.

Awarded the Architectural League Young Architects Award in 2006, MAD develops their designs on unique futuristic concepts by persistently exploring the intersections of the hi-tech world with nature.

MAD’s ongoing projects include Absolute Towers in Toronto, Canada (an international competition won by MAD in 2006), Sinosteel International Plaza in Tianjin, China (a 358 meter high rise building), Erdos Museum in Inner Mongolia, Poly Art Center in Beijing, China, Taichung Convention Center in Taipei, Taiwan, Urban Forest in Chongqing, China, as well as varied large scale public complexes and residential housing projects in Denmark, Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan and Costa Rica.

all images courtesy MAD Architects

Vrushti Mawani
Vrushti Mawani, News Editor Industry Leaders Magazine (

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