Last edited 30 Nov 2020

Fake Hills, China


In December 2016, the Beijing-based design firm MAD completed the first phase of their latest major development. Fake Hills, located on the coastal city of Beihai, China, is a residential apartment complex with an undulating, rollercoaster-like roofline.

Inspired by rising and falling topography, the 492,000 sq. m complex stretches across an 800 m-long narrow oceanfront site. The aim was to produce a combination of two common yet opposing architectural typologies – the high rise and the groundscraper.


Their intention was to build high-density, economically-viable housing, while retaining some degree of architectural innovation; a response to the typically mundane urban tower complexes so prolific across China.

With the first phase complete, the next stage will involve a cluster of smaller blocks and a tower with 'wavy' edges.

Views are maximised for the residents as a result of the geometrical arrangement of the architecture, with public spaces, gardens, tennis courts and swimming pools provided as part of the continuous roof platform.


Individual sections of glazing cover the gridded facades of the slender block, while balconies are cantilevered out over the steeper sections of the roofline. Openings in the buildings allow sea breezes to pass through and provide rock-climbing facilities.

According to the architects:

"The [structure] is an undulating, hill-like form comprised of a single linear mass. The egalitarian principle of providing natural light, fresh air and ocean views underpins the building and together they create a new building typology and an environment that encourages a healthy lifestyle.”


Images and content courtesy of MAD Architects.

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