Urban forest is a high rise tower for the youngest urban center of China, Chongqing. Through the design MAD proposes a shift in the understanding of sustainability. It is a tower that reincorporates nature into a high-density urban environment and evokes affection for nature now lost in modern global cities.
In 1997, Chongqing was classified as the fourth urban municipality in China, an inconceivably vast metropolitan district larger than Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin combined. Urbanization at the macro scale is intended to drive economic prosperity, but it must also engender a cultural identity for this newly-announced megacity in the hinterlands.
In the process of Western urbanization, skyscrapers were the symbol of technological mastery, abundant capital, and a stratified society. The green architecture movement has been largely technological as well, and ignored an intuitive longing to reengage with nature. The Urban Forest draws inspiration from the appreciation of nature and the artificial in oriental philosophy and reconnects urbanity to the natural realm.
The shape of the tower mimics vertiginous hillsides, shifting in a dynamic yet holistic rhythm. Unlike its predecessors, the Urban Forest is a tower with no emphasis on machined vertical force. It concentrates on the multidimensional relationships within complex spaces; multistory sky gardens, floating patios and serene gathering spaces. Architectural form dissolves into the ephemeral movement of air, wind and light.
‘Urban Forest’ represents the most challenging aspirations of contemporary Chinese architecture – an urban landmark that expresses a devotion to nature, a living organ that breathes new life into the steel and concrete city.
Location: Chongqing, China
Typology: Commercial, Office, Hotel
Site Area: 7,700 sqm
Building Area: 216,000 sqm
Building Height: 385 m
Directors: Ma Yansong, Dang Qun
Design Team: Yu Kui, Diego Perez, Zhao Wei, Chie Fuyuki, Fu Changrui, Jtravis B Russett, Dai Pu, Irmgard Reiter, Rasmus Palmqvist, Qin Lichao, Xie Xinyu
Structural Design: ARUP Group Ltd