Design & Architecture


Qingyun Ma

Mr. Ma is the Dean of University of Southern California, school of Architecture and the principal and design director of MADA s.p.a.m. American and Shanghai offices.

Mr. Qingyun Ma is one of the most influential architects in China and his firm MADA s.p.a.m., the most visible Chinese practice on the international scene. He has been the keynote speaker in many important symposiums including 'Future of City', and his works have been widely exhibited in Europe and Asia. He has received various honors including 'Architectural Vanguard' by Architecture Record, 'Emerging Design Talents' Phaidon, 'Pioneers of Chinese Architecture' by A+U and 'New Trends of Architecture' by Euro-Asia Foundation. In China, he has served as planning expert and presenter to the International Olympic Committee for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and he is a member of the conceptual script team of the 2010 Expo in Shanghai. He has served on important national competition juries such as the 2008 Olympic Stadium and the Media Park for CCTV among others.

That Ma's practice has gained global recognition is unsurprising given his rigor in social criticism, cultural exchangea dn pedagogical strength. Apart from dedicated practices, Qingyun Ma is also widely involved in academic activities. He is a visiting professor and he also critiques at various institutions worldwide such as Harvard, Columbia and UPenn in the US and ETH, Berlage and Berlin Technical University in Europe. He has been full-time at Penn from 1997 to 1999, instructing graduate core-studios and advising on theses.

Ma's academic interests are mainly concentrated around notions of scale versus type, construction as urban adn political strategy and generic factors in fast-track urbanization. He coordinated Rem Koolhaas' first Harvard Project on Cities which resulted into the book entitled 'The Great Leap Forward' in 1996. He also assisted James Corner in his cross-disciplinary landscape workshop in 1993. In 1996, Ma was granted an associate professorship in China as a special case and assigned as the assistant dean for the new Shenzhen University.

Ma's active engagement and unique position in urban and architectural discrouses has made him well-known at exhibitions and in publications both as an exhibitor and a curator. He wrote the main curatorial text on architecture for the most important exhibition of Chinese contemporary art and architecture in Pompidou Center, Paris.

Architect's Statement

We have a misunderstanding of the city of Beijing. We tend to regard it as humongous, homogenous, and unanimously cosmopolitan, and expect it to be like that. However it is actually a varied, scattered and uneven city. We are trying to use Guanghualu SOHO to represent and enhance the very characteristic of Beijing. We want to create something different. We want to break the traditional view of a continuous context of a city and create a micro-city instead. This micro-city provides a closed community for a complete daily life, and a recognizable urban image.

A complete life is supplied by various spaces from residential to office, from an ice cream shop to a fish head restaurant, from a hair salon to a fitness center…This is what Zhang Xin and Pan Shiyi have been exploring - the social value and commercial value of dialy life. This is what SOHO is all about. This characteristic is highlighted at Guanghualu SOHO, a development which is neither big, nor complicated.

Zhang Xin and Pan Shiyi have a strong controlling capacity. I call it an 'urban capaciy', or an 'urban representation capability'. But what kind of representation capability is urban? For Guanghualu SOHO, we are neither adopting a coarse forcefuls tyle, nor one which is complicated and confusing and furthermore we do not want to repeat what is already there. We adopted something lighter, more fashionable, and something from the past. I call it the style of 'fabric'.

The 'fabric' style may give viewers difficulties in reading the building. It is hard for viewers to decide whether the building is too big or too small, whether the façade is the face side or inner side of the fabric and so on. The depth of the discussion of these things affects the construction process. However Zhang Xin's good sense of judgment is my biggest discovery during this project. No matter from what angle this project is viewed, it is a release of the heaviness of Beijing.





Guanghualu SOHO

No. 22 Guanghua Road

Chaoyang District, Beijing China