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.