MAD’s proposal for the future Beijing 2050 was first revealed at its exhibition MAD IN CHINA in Venice during the 2006 Venice Architecture Biennale. Beijing 2050 imagined three scenarios for the future of Beijing: a green public park in Tiananmen Square, a series of floating islands above the city’s CBD, and the “Future of Hutongs,” which featured metallic bubbles scattered over Beijing’s oldest neighborhoods. Three years later, the first hutong bubble has appeared in a small courtyard in Beijing.
China’s rapid development has altered the city’s landscape on a massive scale, continually eroding the delicate urban tissue of old Beijing. Such dramatic changes have forced an aging architecture to rely on chaotic, spontaneous renovations to survive the ever-changing neighborhood. In addition, poor standards of hygiene have turned unique living space and potential thriving communities into a serious urban problem. Hutongs are gradually becoming the local inhabitants’ dumpster, the haven for the wealthy, the theme park for tourists.