Lonely Planet Writer

Beijing gets closer to nature with this futuristic complex

An incredible new development in Beijing’s central business district is nearing completion. Comprising a series of multi-purpose buildings inspired by the country’s mountains and sea, Chaoyang Park Plaza – by MAD Architects – will offer an eye-catching new addition to the city’s skyline. Covering almost 394,000 square feet, the complex features both residential and office buildings, each inspired by an element in nature.

Nature-inspired Chaoyang Park Plaza nears completion
Chaoyang Park Plaza, Beijing. Image courtesy of MAD Architects

The architects explain their vision of merging a cosmopolitan city with classical imagery. “By transforming features of Chinese classical landscape painting, such as lakes, springs, forests, creeks, valleys, and stones, into modern ‘city landscapes’, the urban space creates a balance between high urban density and natural landscape. The forms of the buildings echo what is found in natural landscapes, and re-introduces nature to the urban realm.”

Skating at the Chaoyang Park Plaza
Skaters in the shadow of Chaoyang Park Plaza, Beijing. Image courtesy of MAD Architects

The team’s work on the buildings’ facades gives the impression that they’ve been sculpted by the elements. “Like the tall mountain cliffs and river landscapes of China, a pair of asymmetrical towers creates a dramatic skyline in front of the park. Ridges and valleys define the shape of the exterior glass facade, as if the natural forces of erosion wore down the tower into a few thin lines. Located to the south of the towers, four office buildings are shaped like river stones that have been eroded over a long period. Smooth, round, and each with its own features, they are delicately arranged to allow each other space while also forming an organic whole.”

Towers at the Chaoyang PArk Plaza in Beijing
The Chaoyang Park Plaza is nearing completion. Photo courtesy of MAD Architects

An incredibly green endeavour, the project has been awarded the ‘Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)’ Gold certificate by the US Green Building Council. “Its use of natural lighting, intelligent building, and air purification system make this project stand out from others being built today”, say MAD. “By exploring the symbiotic relationship between modern urban architecture and natural environment, it revives the harmonious co-existence between urban life and nature. It creates a ‘Shanshui’ (mountains and water) city, where people can share their individual emotions and a sense of belonging.”