Man-Made Mountains: 12 Terrain-Inspired Buildings

It juts out of the landscape and into the clouds, covered in grass, butterflies flitting about – but it’s no naturally-occurring mountain. It’s a high-density housing development, or a massive mixed-use complex. These 12 buildings disguised as mountains or hills pay homage to the land in which they are nestled in harmonious bio-mimicry (or perhaps geo-mimicry) rather than stark artificiality.

MVRDV: China Hills – A Vision of Future Cities

(images via: mvrdv)

How can you accommodate millions of urban inhabitants in a way that blends in with the environment? Architecture firm MVRDV has an idea for China: sky-high towers that resemble exaggerated hills. Each residential ‘mountain’ could house up to 100,000 people in the terraced outer rings while offering retail, industry, leisure and technology in the core. The result once built looks not like a sprawling city, but like an artificial addition to the country’s mountain ranges.

Gwanggyo Power Center’s Towering Hills

(images via: mvrdv)

Vertical greenery makes this concept for Gwanggyo Power Center – again by MVRDV – look even more like a natural part of the landscape rather than harshly artificial towers of steel and glass. Designed for the as-yet-unbuilt ‘future city’ of Gwanggyo in South Korea, which is envisioned as an entirely self-sufficient home to 77,000 people.

La Maison-Vague: Wavy Green Hill House

(images via: patrick nadeau)

Vaguely hobbit-like yet thoroughly modern, this hill house by Patrick Nadeau has a wave-shaped green roof that extends all the way to the ground on either side – almost (the house is raised to create a bench around the perimeter). La Maison-Vague, currently under construction in Reims, France, has a facade made of double-skin polycarbonate glass and is planted with grasses, succulents and delicious-smelling herbs like thyme and lavender.

Rolling Green Stadium in Slovenia

(images via: sadar vuga architects)

From a distance, the new Sports Park Stozice in Slovenia may not look like an actual hill, but it does seem as if it has a green roof – an illusion, thanks to reflective finish that changes color according to the weather and the distance of the viewer. Set mostly underground, this football stadium, sports hall and shopping center with room for 12,000 spectators was designed to fit into an abandoned 40-foot-deep gravel pit.

Green-Roofed Skyscraper by Graft Architects

(images via: graftlab)

With its glassy facade, living roof and vertical greenery, the AO Project by Graft Architects could be an icy mountain rising above an urban landscape. In fact, it’s an apartment complex designed to meet strict space limitations for a Japanese client in an undisclosed location. Details are scarce, but the project is set to be completed in 2012.

Lace Hill: Giant Living Man-Made Mountain

(images via: inhabitat)

It’s a building. It’s a mountain. It’s a living man-made mountain, with a building inside it. The appropriately named Forrest Fulton Architects came up with this uber-creative concept for a mixed-use development in Armenia which bears a perforated living facade inspired by traditional Armenian lace needlework. Lace Hill fits right into the hilly landscape, sites the parking lot underground for maximum aesthetics and contains offices, apartments, a hotel, retail and restaurants.

Fake Hills: Multi-Use Complex in Beihai, China

(images via: mad architects)

Think of it as a compromise between the sky-high silhouettes of modern high-rise architecture and the more curvilinear landscapes that such buildings are often set against. ‘Fake Hills’ by MAD Architects is under construction in Beihai, China and will offer high-density urban housing along a narrow waterfront site. MAD says “This shape can maximize the views of residents, but can also easily appear to be a monolithic break between the waterfront and the land behind it.  The solution is twofold: to cut into the slab, creating a sculpted form which references the shape of the hills that dominate the region’s landscape, and to cut openings through the structure, to further allow space, views and light to penetrate it.”

Taipei Pop Music Center’s Glassy Hills

(images via: design boom)

Hills and canyons aren’t exactly common features in urban spaces, but if Mario Bellini Architects has their way, Taipei will soon have both – artificially constructed, of course. Their vision for the Taipei Pop Music Center is “a single body wrapped in a plastic ‘mantle plant’” – and while it’s not clear exactly what that means and whether the greenery on the structure is live or not, it’s certainly a sight to behold, especially with those glass passageways connecting one ‘hill’ to another.

Magic Mountains: Green Business District for Chongqing, China

(images via: inhabitat)

Designed to fit into the natural skyline of Chongqing, China, ‘Magic Mountains’ by CEBO/Chongqing University features green-topped groupings of skyscrapers that are arranged in such a way that they form a hill-shape as a whole. Higher peaks indicate dense housing while lower, rolling hills represent outlying neighborhoods with lower populations.

That’s No Mountain – It’s a Luxury Resort

(images via: mvrdv)

It certainly cuts a dramatic profile, jutting out into the sky, and if it were a natural landscape feature it would be no less an attraction. But this isn’t just a lush green hill; it’s a luxury resort in Montenegro designed by MVRDV, an architecture firm with quite an oeuvre of hill- and mountain-inspired concepts. ‘Galije’ honors its previously untouched slice of coastal land by disturbing its beauty as little as possible, allowing native flora and fauna to take its rightful place right on the building’s surface.

California Academy of Sciences’ Natural Curves

(images via:

Concepts are all fine and well, but isn’t it nice to see stunning projects like these made reality every now and then? The California Academy of Sciences is ahead of the curve with grassy curves of its own, sporting a hilly green roof that pays homage to the landscape of San Francisco. A rooftop observation deck allows visitors to get a close look at the green rooftop, which hosts a wide array of native wildlife including birds and butterflies.

The Berg: Man-Made Mountain in Germany

(images via: archdaily)

Sure, there’s Space Mountain in Tomorrowland and a few other artificial theme-park mountains that are only remarkable for the roller coasters they contain. But what about man-made mountains that are just as fun, on a much bigger scale? The Berg would be the biggest artificial mountain in the world, designed as an unprecedented tourist attraction in Berlin, Germany that would not only provide a haven for wildlife but also hold recreation space for the city’s inhabitants.

Exit mobile version