ORDOS Villa: Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design

Architects: Yazdani Studio
Location: Ordos, Inner Mongolia,
Design year: 2008
Construction year: 2009-2010
Curator: Ai Weiwei, Beijing, China

master plan

Located in the southwestern part of Inner Mongolia, in Ordos City, the Kaokaoshina New District is an emerging art and cultural district organized by Ai Wei Wei. Kaokaoshina is positioned to be a thriving tourist destination, in anticipation, the development calls for a series of villas for people to live and visit to experience this incredibly unique part of the world.

The concept of Villa I is based on a hybridization of the traditional housing of the Mongols – the yurt – and the Chinese – the use of a central courtyard. The yurt is suited for nomadic life, and like the Chinese, Mongols live within the boundaries of a village. Additionally, the experience of building is embodied in three ideas: circulation, metamorphosis and lightness.

The design uses the notion of circulation to choreograph a dance between the person and the building – there are multiple, indirect paths which loop through the building. Along these paths there are a series of arranged social spaces, each offering uniquely framed views of the elements – sky, earth, and water.

Villa I is not a single object but rather a space in the process of metamorphosis likened to cellular mitosis. The northern face of the villa is a single vertical rectangle; the shape and proportion of a door. The southern face is two overlapping horizontal rectangles; two giant windows. Tying back to the idea of circulation, the movement throughout the building activates this transformation. Scales and proportions change radically – thus circulation and movement spur the metamorphosis.

Lastly, the building was created to be light – hovering above the ground, filled with sunlight and without a clear inside and outside. The site evokes purity and rawness, the design respects the site and so sits above it. The illusion that the Villa is floating above the dunes and the grass is hopefully achieved; and the use of glass to evoke transparency and connectivity to nature hopes to engage the visitor with the site rather than the building itself.

Cite: Saieh, Nico. "ORDOS Villa: Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design" 01 Jun 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 Sep 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=23355>


  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Wow, someone actually acknowledged they are building in a desert! Unfortunately they didn’t quite show they are in a suburban development surrounded by other houses. Still, not a bad little (huge) house.

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    This is my favorite of the ORDOS houses yet. As a standalone statement, that means little, for most of the ORDOS projects I find – if not downright offensive – then examples of the exact sort of excess, arrogance and foppishness that makes architects the deserving butt end of jokes. Yet this house rises above that, and though it’s a monster of a home, and surely quite a pig when it comes to energy resources, its concept and design execution are very strong. I’d love to see some sections in addition to the plans and renders.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I agree, finally a decent ordos house. It is a mistake though to put it alone in the renders when it is surrounded by other buildings. Good job though. Looks good.

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    very nice. On the list of most improperly used arch. cliche’s I think ‘without a clear inside and outside’ has to be in the top three. the design is great, but there is definitely a clear inside and out.

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    isn’t a south glass facade going to allow a lot of light and heat in and isn’t that going to require a lot of cooling and heating?

    or am I wrong?

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    a wide roof eaves at the south would shade the inside. im not sure how wide is needed in that part of china..

  7. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    For what its worth, this is actually not an official Ordos 100 villa (not one of the 100 architects ‘selected by H&DeM’), though it is part of the larger Ordos development — the site is separate from the 100, and Yazdani is not in the 100…

  8. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    in years to come people will visit the ORDOS project. disaster tourists, rubberneckers and those wishing to see the worst masterplan in existance outside the suburbs of provincial British towns.

  9. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    The best one from ORDOS so far, all the other ones are a little bit odd, there’s a difference between modern and green to ugly and uninteresting. I mean, people will actually live in those houses (I guess). Another thing, I’m not that into this ORDOS whatever, it is, I’m sorry, plain silly to me. Mongolia? A bit far.

  10. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    What’s the concept? I mean, besides: “Whoa! Forced perspective!!”. If you stand at just the right point, does it disappear altogether? This thing looks cool (I like white boxes as much as the next guy), but it has ZERO resemblance to a Mongolian yurt.

  11. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    some of that ordos project are really nice – but this house is not that much, looks like a house of a heting commercial or something simmilar like that…

  12. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I think this is one of Ordos 100 worst works… I don’t like the idea of this house. And the interior space is not well resoluted at all. Look at the bedrroms and bathrooms, this is a house maked by little residual spaces (and it has a lot of space to avoid doing this).

    This is a project made to sell, to impress. But i think it is a very bad house. They designed it in a whim, it’s a very tirant shape/form that they tried to turn into a project

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