Rethinking urban and natural boundaries



Buildings resembling mountains are part of Ma Yansong of Chinese studio MAD’s masterplan for Nanjing which also includes public spaces which overlap with the natural landscape.

The Nanjing Zendai Thumb Plaza proposal is the latest in a series of projects by the studio based on Yansong’s Shan-Shui City concept – an urban strategy based on a style of Chinese landscape painting and named after the words for mountains and water.


The masterplan, which encompasses an area of approximately 60 hectares, envisions an assortment of buildings and spaces that mediate between the city’s urban centre and its surrounding landscape of mountains and lakes.

“We need to rethink how to define the boundary between the nature and the urban on this piece of empty plot in the new city development area,” said a MAD spokesperson. “Is it possible to combine the high-density city with the atmosphere of the nature to create an energetic urban public space for the future, so people will reconnect their emotion with the nature?”

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