In the world of architecture, like with writers and artists, there’s a proverbial baton that’s passed from one generation of virtuosos to the next. Examples abound: Toni Morrison and Ta-Nehisi Coates, Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Zaha Hadid and Ma Yansong. Indeed, it’s with Yansong’s latest project—the verdant Gardenhouse, a residential design in the heart of Los Angeles—that the young Chinese architect has secured his status of progressing the practice of architecture from one era into the next.
Ma Yansong, 45 and founder of MAD architects, has become China’s most exciting young architect. For years he’s been compared to his mentor, the late Zaha Hadid. And for good reason. His bold, free-formed, futuristic designs stand out—as if a spaceship parked in a suburban neighborhood. In many ways Yansong, like Hadid before him, is showing us the future of design. “My goal with Gardenhouse is to introduce a new and