ORDOS VILLA, Inner Mongolia (China)

Site: Ordos – Inner Mongolia, China
Date: Jan-June 2008 (project), 2009 (construction)
Address: Kaokaoshina new distric.
Promotor: Jiang Yuan Water Engineering Ltd.
Curator: Ai Wei Wei / FAKE Design
Arch selection: Herzog and de Meuron
Program: Housing
Area (sq m) 1.264
Budget 200.000 $
Collaborators: Irene Gil (project leader), Gonzalo Cantos (project, models), Carlos Carnicer (render), Sunyi (tranlation)
Consultants: BOMA (structures), AJ (M.E.P.), Jaume Avellaneda (construction),
Fabian Asuncion (model), CADRG (China Architecture Design & Research Group)

-Arquine, 43, pp. 12-13, 2008
-Bert de Muynck, Artforum China, Abril 2008
-Fred A. Berstein, New York Times – El Pais 15 mayo 2008
-Icon 061, july 2008
-Detail n. 7, 2008, p. 802-803.
-Via Construccion, 55, abril 2008, p. 14.
-Cataleg 11 Bienal de Arquitectura de Venecia. Madrid 2008, p. 124-127, 158
-Metalocus 23/011.08, p. 138-139 (Ordos)
-El Croquis 142, 2008, pp. 204-211 (ISBN 978-8488386-51-9)
-Rodriguez, Marta. “Cien casas sigulares reunidas”, La Vanguardia 14 gener 2009
-AV proyectos n. 028, 2008, pg. 22, 28, 29 y portada, (Ordos)
-ON n. 300, p.322, 2009
-Panorama n.2, 2009, p. 14-15,

-XI Bienal Arquitectura de Venecia. 2008

This 1000 sq. m. villa is part of a development of 100 houses to be built in the north of China (Inner Mongolia autonomous region) designed in 100 days by 100 different architects selected by Herzog & de Meuron under the coordination of Ai Weiwei/FAKE Design.

The parcel 19 has some unique features amongst the Ordos 100 masterplan: It is one of the biggest parcel, with most sides, hence with the most neighbours, located at one of the highest point and with the least amount of street façade (20 metres in a 178 metres perimetre). The buildings responds to these parameters by avoiding hierarchy (main and rear façade), allowing all sides to enjoy good views and constructing complex relationships with neighbours.

The volume of the house is deformed to respond to climate and weather conditions (winter -15º C, summer +35ºC), diminishing the northern facade exposure and increasing the southern facade. Deformations are also applied to its section: Diminishing the height of the house towards the northwest for the strong wind and increasing it towards the centre, adopting an aerodynamic profile similar to the smooth hills of the Ordos landscape. The roof constitutes an artificial landscape, defined by a singular topography acting as a wind-barrier to an exterior solarium area connected to the interior swimming pool and lounge-mezzanine.

The whole house is built with exposed concrete façades and roof on the interior side and cladded with stone granite (both roof and façade) to be perceived as a rock from the outside.

The whole treatment of the house is playful and organized following a structure of 5-meter wide parallel strips of program, interchangeable and permeable. The program fills strategically the strips eliminating the necessity for corridors through free trajectories through polyvalent spaces. Each space is separated from the next by a strip of 30+10+30 cms allowing for structural 30×30 cms columns, equipment, shelves, storage and sliding doors and acting as a threshold. Some service shafts, inserted between walls, organize the circulation around them.

The basic pieces of program are on the ground level, leaving the basement only for service and technical program and the mezzanine for ludic activities and guest. The main activities of the house will take place most of the time on one level, on the ground floor.

Almost all the different parts of the program of the house, organized following parallel strips of program, are covered by a tent-like structure under one single roof. Its profile reminds that of the surrounding dunes of the Mongolian desert as if carved by the same wind. The variation in height of the roof makes some spaces singular and converts the interior into a large space. Entertainment center, lounge and study form a continuous but subdivible space at the mezzanine level, under the singular roof, overlooking the main ground floor space.

The service shafts (bath, kitchen, sauna) vertebrate the space of the house on the ground floor and the mezzanine and contain air-handling units and light wells in a third level that conects with the inclined roof, allowing ventilation and light into the interior space. Some additional hydraulic circular skylights illuminate the mezzanine.