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An Interview with Xu Tian Tian, DnA Design and Architecture

"In China there’s history but there’s no existing context. All the contexts are made for the future. Most of the designs, most of the buildings are only designed for a planning scenario lasting five or ten years. And in that case, first of all, you need to accommodate functions for the future, for the planned purpose. I’d say even though the current project is in a very rural area, it could soon, let’s say in just one or two years, become a populated area. So that’s a different challenge here when you are designing in China."
- Xu Tian Tian, Beijing 2013

Spontaneous Artist Community

Xu Tian Tian: What condition is Songzhuang in, in general? I haven’t been there for quite a while.

Pier Alessio Rizzardi: Songzhuang is developing very rapidly, everything was under construction, and especially in the areas around your three projects the residential buildings were growing fast… I must say that all the projects you designed [Songzhuang Artists’ Residence, Museum and Cultural Centre] were extremely damaged.

Xu Tian Tian: That’s quite disappointing...

Songzhuang Artist Residence. Image © Iwan Baan Songzhuang Art Museum. Image © Ruogu Zhou Xiaopu Culture Center in Songzhuang. Image © Ruogu Zhou Xiaopu Culture Center in Songzhuang. Image © Ruogu Zhou

Cubic Buildings by NADAAA and Himma Studio Redefine the Office Space

One of ARCHITECT Magazine's six winners of a 2015 Progressive Architects Award (P/A), NADAAA and Himma Studio's Ordos 20 + 10 reflects a reconfiguration of the office typology for compact spaces. 

The project is part of a high density office park masterplan in Ordos City, located in Inner Mongolia, in which developments are subject to stringent zoning regulations. Offices included in the area must be comprised of multiple cubic volumes, and lack what NADAAA and Himma Studio describe as "an immediate urban context." Learn more about the project and the architects' response to these considerations after the break.

Ordos Museum / ///byn


Chinese calligraphy is mainly based in three characteristics: status of mind, line and color. These tree concepts triggered ///byn original ideas for the Ordos Museum. A primary impression of non-organization is quickly overcome by a self-organized logic. Here, the museum volumes have found their own space in the park. The logics of placement come from many different aspects: orientation, functionality, targeted visuals, public space, creating a unique orchestrated sequence of spaces. More images and project description after the break.

Update: Erdos Museum / MAD

When we first saw MAD’s Erdos Museum for Inner Mongolia, the renderings teased us with a futuristic blob-like form that was planned for Ordos’ designed, but yet not constructed, urban masterplan. Now, a few years later, the firm is celebrating the museum’s completion and the finished effect of both the form and its materiality can be fully appreciated. MAD shared a video on the finished project with us and we hope you enjoy it!

More info about the project after the break.

Ordos 20+10 Office Complex / Preston Scott Cohen

© Preston Scott Cohen
© Preston Scott Cohen

Designed for the Ordos 20+10 project, this office complex by Preston Scott Cohen serves to create a whole new office building typology in its stance on site, promenade, and public space.

© Preston Scott Cohen © Preston Scott Cohen © Preston Scott Cohen © Preston Scott Cohen

UNVEIL / ///byn

aerial view 01
aerial view 01

///byn shared with us their design, UNVEIL, an office complex, part of ORDOS 20*10, the new financial district of Ordos, which is in the third planning growth of the DongSheng District, in the Northwest area of the City of Ordos. Ordos is the fastest economic grow city in Inner Mongolia, China. Ordos has 86,752 square kilometers, which is about 80 times Hong Kong’s size. For this project, similar to the Ordos 100 project, the local government has decided to put together a large group of architects. Instead of being 100 foreign architects, they reduced the list to the 20 best Chinese architecture practices and 10 international ones with experience in mainland China. More images and architect’s description after the break.

New Ideas for Ordos 100 / Ordos 20+10 / Plasma Studio

© Plasma Studio
© Plasma Studio

Previously, we have covered the Ordos 100 project quite extensively, giving you an inside look at the Inner Mongolia development.  Back when Cai Jiang proposed the initiative to build one hundred 1000sqm villas designed by 100 up-and-coming architects in a mere 100 days, most questioned if the project was a hoax while others felt the development’s free-for-all attitude would not yield a unifying strong result.   Yet, even with these concerns, the 100 firms responded to  Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Wei Wei’s invitation to design the villas and transform a barren land.   However, this development took quite an unexpected twist. Read more about the project after the break.

Ordos Hotel / EXH Design

Our friends at EXH Design shared their design of a hotel in Ordos, which is scheduled to be completed within a few months, with us.  Taking inspiration from the yurt, the circular tent-like dwelling of Mongolian peoples,  the team transformed the traditional scheme to meet the demands of modern life.   The design “makes an accommodation experience in Ordos different from anywhere else and arouses a local cultural interest,” explained the architects.

More about the hotel and more images after the break.

Ordos Art Museum / DnA

  • Architects: DnA
  • Location: Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China
  • Architect in Charge: DnA
  • Design Team: Tiantian Xu,Guillaume Aubry,Yingnan Chen
  • Building area: 270 sqm
  • Design year: 2005-2006
  • Client: Ordos Jiangyuan Water Engineering Co. Ltd
  • Area: 420.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2007

Ordos Art Museum / DnA Ordos Art Museum / DnA Ordos Art Museum / DnA Ordos Art Museum / DnA

The Ordos Prize

The Ordos 100 project, as seen on our site, marked the first time the city of Ordos attracted international attention.  The success of that project led to the development of the Ordos Prize.  This prize provides an opportunity for young architects to be recognized early in their career for their intellectual rigor as demonstrated in both theoretical and built projects.  The prize, sponsored by the City of Ordos in Inner Mongolia and Jiang Yuan Cultural & Creativity Development Co., Ltd, is not only the first international architecture prize from Asia, but it is also China’s sole international prize for any achievement.

More about the Ordos Prize after the break.