Beijing, China–based MAD Architects has proposed a residential design that could represent an urban landmark for modern architecture’s connection to the environment. 

The 548-foot-tall Cloud Corridor concept, set in Los Angeles, seeks to address concerns about urban sprawl and challenge conventional residential topology by reorienting the streets with a vertical village design. In the concept, public spaces, sky-top gardens, and individual neighborhoods are woven through nine interconnected residential towers erected on a 97,000-square-foot site. 

Each floor of the buildings features garden patios and lush courtyards, some multilevel, to provide a nature-infused retreat from some of the city's more concrete-jungle–like areas. 

The proposed design embodies MAD founder and principal partner Ma Yansong’s “Shanshui City” philosophy, which aims to bring together the spiritual essences of humans and nature by designing buildings that respond to their surroundings.

“Shan shui” historically refers to an ancient Chinese painting style that depicts mountains and rivers using only ink. Similarly, Cloud Corridor manifests itself in a high-density, urban building design that treats architecture as landscape: 

With the proposed site situated above a forthcoming transit station, Cloud Corridor’s sculpted podium, which is covered with vegetation and resembles “rolling hills,” will serve as a public park and incorporate natural elements into one of the city’s transportation hubs. 

A model of the Cloud Corridor design was on display at the inaugural exhibition of L.A.'s A+D Museum, “Shelter: Rethinking How We Live in Los Angeles,” earlier this fall.