This villa is located in plot #67 of the ORDOS project.
Architects: Rojkind Arquitectos
Project Principal: Michel Rojkind
Project leader: Agustin Pereyra
Location: Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China
Project team: Juan Carlos Vidals (3D massing) Alejandro Biguria, Moritz Melchert, Mónica Orozco, Phillip Jung, José Moreno, Laura Rodriguez , Roberto Gil Will, Tere Levy, Alan Rahmane
Structural Engineer: Juan Felipe Heredia
Design year: 2008
Construction year: 2009-2010
Curator: Ai Weiwei, Beijing, China
Client: Jiang Yuan Water Engineering Ltd, Inner Mongolia, China
Constructed Area: 1,000 sqm aprox
Traditional cave dwellings in China, often referred as Yaodong, have been passed down from generations as they have proven to be superior in harsh environments particular to Inner Mongolia. Their unique typology has protected generations from the harsh tundra climate and the burning summers by providing thermal performance superior to those that reside on the surface. Likewise, local fauna has evolved to reside below the surface to survive, such as the Mongolian toad, or as Mongolians refer it, guroot, which is known to hibernate through the winter in 1-2 meter deep holes.
Inner Mongolia has had a long tradition of tribesmen dependant on nomadic lifestyles moving their herds in search for better grasslands and campsites. Even today, a large percentage of Mongolians still subside in the steppes and follow a nomadic lifestyle.
Today we find ourselves in a world of increased mobility in which transportation networks permit endless possibilities of travel for work, living, and pleasure we remain connected. In this new real of mobile populations, merchandise, and in formation, a new breed of nomads arises, dependant on the environments they travel much like the traditional nomads.
Gimme Shelter moves away from the temporality of nomadism but maintains the underlying principal of nomadic dwellings; which is to shelter from detrimental climatic conditions. The Villa responds not only to site specificity but attempts to provide a unique shelter for the modern nomad. Cues have been abstracted from sand-dune morphology and generation into the formal expression of the villa. Gimme Shelter submerges itself into the landscape, providing warmth through the winter and cool air during the summer.
The Villa not only protects its inhabitants from harsh climatic conditions, but provides a unique experience for dynamic-programmatic circulation between private, public, and service spaces. Interstitial space serves as circulation for inhabitants and provides unique opportunities for gardens filled with native flora. Furthermore, the notion of void and solid has been understood as a formal distribution of private and public space.
As you enter the villa through the hard protective shell on the northern face, you find yourself on the second floor. Through the entrance hall, you slowly uncover the intricate play of the inner program volumes. On the west side of the Villa you find all services and support and program progressively turns into levels of privacy towards the east, ending with the master room on the extreme east. Your transition through the inner volumes is bathed with light that shines through the carefully perforated southern wall. Apertures progressively increase towards the interior gardens in which the perforations become denser and allow for cross winds to move through the villa evidently cooling the house during the summer days. As you move yourself into the third and fourth floors the inner workings of the villa unravel before your eyes. The play of levels, which are connected by a series of bridges, enriches your experience, as every space is unique in character and shape. Ceilings become terraces for other semi-private activities; walls and ceilings begin to shift in different directions, the play of outside and inside space gets blurred as the inner gardens separate program, suddenly an understanding of the forces that shaped this villa becomes evident.