The Beijing-based firm, headed by hutong-raised Yale grad Ma Yansong, has been cranking out one eye-popping project after another (like the Toronto-area Absolute World towers) since it was founded by Yansong just ten years ago.
According to the announcement, MAD was chosen because of its "philosophy of connecting urban spaces to natural landscapes," but landscaping on the 17-acre site has been assigned to Jeanne Gang's Chicago-based Studio Gang. Gang will also design a bridge from the museum grounds to Northerly Island, which will be built "at no cost to the city of Chicago."
Another Chicago firm, VOA Associates, will be executive architect on the project, in charge of implementing MAD's design.
The selection of MAD may not be a game changer—it doesn't negate questions about the site, the mission, and the collection—but at least it promises a building that's a galaxy or two removed from the klutzy Spanish revival box Lucas had proposed for the location he originally wanted in San Francisco's Presidio Park.
Check out MAD's portfolio here.