This villa is located in plot ORDOS project.
Architects: Work AC / Dan Wood and Amale Andraos Location: Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China 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
This house is part of the “Ordos 100″ project of 100 speculative villas to be built in Inner Mongolia, China. Each is to be 10,000Sf with numerous bedrooms and an indoor swimming pool. There are a number of room types suggested, but the program was left flexible. The site is an endless empty desert, but the masterplan called for the villas to be placed densely with little open space. We therefore decided to turn our attention inwards, creating complexity and variety within, rather than without.
Given the inherent contradiction between a 8-bedroom house and China’s 1-child policy, we decided to explore a villa that maximized both collective space and individual space, opening up possibilities for different scenarios of occupation: a party villa for multiple couples, space for a large family that both liked to be together yet also desired independence and solitude, even multi-family housing if need be. The project therefore is a series of experiments in living both collectively and individually. Alternating shared and private experiences are nested within each other in a series of layered spaces and conditions, creating a complex interior world within a relatively anonymous exterior.
The ground floor is the “onion” – a series of perimeters that create space and connections between. The first layer is the concrete exterior wall, perforated with holes and angled to create the entrance, control light and subtly reveal the layers of the interior. Behind this wall is the second layer of covered exterior spaces – a reflecting pool on the west and north and a garden on the east and south. The pool continues indoors on the north side and a small protuberance on the south contains the western kitchen and small dining room. The third and fourth layers are two structural walls of concrete, between which are a series of stairs and hallways allowing access to the upstairs and niches for closets, a fireplace and access to the perimeter rooms.
In the center of all these layers is the heart of the project – an enormous, 5.1m-high central room created by combining several of the suggested program elements: the big living room + big dining room + entrance hall + study + lounge. This massive 180m2 “loft” is the ultimate collective space; it can be used for enormous parties, community gatherings, 200-person dinner parties, an artist’s studio, concerts, film screenings, roller-skating, etc.
The upper floor is the “hutong” – a dense collection of rooms and courtyards organized in four quadrants. These four wings – master bedroom, guest bedrooms, kids’ rooms, and the “teen room” – are each independently accessed via stairway from the ground floor, allowing for maximum privacy. The “teen” stair even leads to a door directly to the outside for independence from the rest of the household. Four exterior courtyards provide light and air to each quadrant. In the center is a small shared family living area, sized for TV watching, ping-pong and lounging – which can only be accessed from each wing via the courtyards.
A spiral stair connects this central shared living space to the big room below, and continues to the parking garage in the basement. As well, a series of openings surrounding the upper living room allow framed glimpses of the family life, the courtyards, and the sky above.
Between the upper floor and the ground floor, two mezzanines contain one side the nanny’s room and kid’s lounge (accessible via the kids’ stair) and on the other the sauna (accessible via the guest bedroom stair). The basement contains the parking garage, Chinese kitchen, workers’ room and the gym.
The spiral connecting stair also functions as a stack for natural ventilation, bringing fresh air through the house and up during the summer. The deep overhangs created by the perimeters of the “onion” allow winter sun to penetrate while protecting from the higher summer sun. The materials reflect the colors and textures of the desert: concrete, stucco, sandstone.