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ORDOS 100 #24: Babel Architecture

This villa is located in plot ORDOS project.

Architects: Babel Architecture / Sharon Rotbard, Dan Hasson, Yuval Yasky Location: Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China Collaborators: Shira Gleitman, Jessy Feng, Igor Shevchenko, Amit Mandelkern, Omer Barr Structure Consultant: Itzhak Rokach, Rokach-Ashkenazi Design year: 2008 Construction year: 2009 Curator: Ai Weiwei, Beijing, China Client: Jiang Yuan Water Engineering Ltd, Inner Mongolia, China Constructed Area: 1,000 sqm aprox

The villa’s program was divided into two distinct volumes: a big villa for the owner and a small one for the worker.

In order to preserve the notion of the villas as distinct, clear objects dominating their “property”, and in order to reduce the neighborhood’s density, all of the common and space-consuming elements of the program are located bellow the ground level. All in all, the foot print ratio of the built areas above the ground level is 15% (instead of 35%). Both villas were planned on compact squares, recommended by the master plan.

The Villa is composed by 3 elements:

2 brick skin cubes above the ground level: private spaces for the owner and the worker a concrete flat surface (camouflage carpet) at the ground level an underground level: common spaces and courtyards

2 brick skin cubes above the ground level

The private spaces of the villa’s owner and the villa’s worker are located in two distinct cubes juxtaposed side by side. The choice of this form stems from the logic of the master plan that designated the footprints of the villas as generic squares.

Each cube materializes by its size its relative portion in the program. As the planners were encouraged by the client to use brick as a main construction material, the two cubes are covered with brick skin.

Since in China gray brick is twice more expensive than the red brick, the big cube of the villa’s owner is covered by a gray brick skin and the small cube of the villa’s worker is covered by a red brick skin.

The two cubes have separate and private access from the main underground entrance floor and from the ground floor camouflage carpet.

The Big Gray Cube houses the owner’s 5 bedrooms. It is of 1058 cm length and 3 levels – 2 bedrooms on the ground level (1st level in China), 2 bedrooms on 2nd level, one master bedroom on the 3rd level.

The Small Red Cube houses the worker’s dwelling. It is of 798 cm length and 2 levels, the living room, the dinning room and kitchen on the 1st level (in China there is no ground level); the bedroom and its services and bathroom on the 2nd level. The small cube is covered by a red brick skin.

In both cubes, all the rooms (floors, walls and ceiling) are covered with brickwork in the corresponding colors. All the attached areas – closets and bathrooms are white.

Camouflage Carpet at ground level

Most of the plot is covered by a generic carpet that reproduces a “Woodland” standard camouflage pattern. The landscaped camouflage pattern represents in its turn a portion of a generic landscape, and hides all the common and luxurious parts of the villa from curious gazes either from the street or from Google Earth.

The camouflage pattern of the landscaping will be formed by hollow paving – like upside down hollow concrete 2 holes (40/20/20) blocks. According to the design pattern, the hollow parts will be filled with different plants or fillings (chosen according the seasons or taste). The carpet is perforated by square openings in 3 measurements.

Underground level

Protected from sandstorms and wind, the underground level houses the entrance and the reception areas, 3 inner gardens and patios, and common and leisure facilities in one open space flanked by the different services attached to them.

Cite:Nico Saieh. "ORDOS 100 #24: Babel Architecture" 05 Mar 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/15292/ordos-100-24-babel-architecture/>