This villa is located in plot ORDOS project.
Architects: Iwamoto Scott Architecture Location: Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China Principals in Charge: Lisa Iwamoto & Craig Scott Project team: Blake Altshuler, Keith Plymale, Magda Melo, Sean Canty, Ryan Golenberg, Christina Kaneva Projects Assistants: Jason Chang, Manuel Diaz, Ashley Li, Alan Lu, Doron Serban, Wei Huang, John Kim 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
The design of Villa 043 derives from exploring certain formal/spatial/material preoccupations while engaging the pragmatic realities of the project brief. Some of Plot 043′s key site factors include substantial southerly and easterly views afforded by a raised elevation and sloping topography, as well as a high degree of exposure to adjacent public buildings and open spaces. Accordingly, Villa 043 aims to conflate two inverse spatial paradigms: the Chinese courtyard house, with its inward focus towards a central exterior space, offering sanctuary and protection; and the Western villa, with its outward orientation and potential to capture views to the surrounding landscape. During our first trip to China, we were also intrigued by the discovery in various built examples of an oblique spatiality that enriches an otherwise strict orthogonal order. Villa 043 melds and transforms these archetypal spatial concepts, evolving into an adaptational site-specific architecture.
Inspiration came as well from examples of landform and built form that merge together via the logic and materiality of masonry construction. The overall form of Villa 043 is conceived as a twisted stack of east-west oriented bricks, strategically carved out by exterior void spaces. The villa’s base geometry originates at the ground as a square footprint rotated five degrees off the recommended building footprint from the master plan by FAKE Design. This square then subtly shears counterclockwise toward the roof, resolving at the top as a parallelogram realigned with the site’s edges, and tilted in section to follow the site’s slope.
In response to the suggested use of local construction techniques, the villa’s structure is reinforced concrete, meeting local seismic requirements; and the exterior cladding material is variegated brickwork, offering a visual and tactile complexity, plus shelter from the frigid winds and snow of winter and the scorching heat and sandstorms of summer. The brick envelope’s coursing and bonding patterns adapt to the villa’s specific geometry. The technique of corbelling allows the brick to assume the supple geometries of ruled surfaces, while the bonding patterns vary according to the formal logic of the walls: the twisting south and north walls are clad with corbelled, stacked stretcher bond; whereas the vertical faces of the east and west facades receive staggered header bond, adapted to the walls’ five-degrees-off-vertical leaning edges.
Villa 043′s program is configured with large living room, dining, kitchens and study all located one level above entry, in a ‘piano nobile’ arrangement. At this raised height, views of the surrounding landscape are pulled in by the geometry of the house. The entry level contains small living room, bedrooms and the workers quarters and attaches to the garage. Each bedroom has direct southern exposure, while the master suite is distinguished through its position at the uppermost level. The pool, gym, sauna, home-theater and guest suite form the base of the villa and connect to an outdoor pool terrace to the east.
Vertical circulation wraps around the central void as a double helix that intertwines interior and exterior stairways, dynamically linking the villa’s major interior program with five interconnected exterior spaces: a central courtyard which connects all levels; a covered terrace positioned opposite the main entry to face the eastern view; a large south-facing terrace opening directly off the main living room, and forming a circuit of movement via access from the study; an open rooftop terrace above; and a small winter garden situated between dining and living rooms. These five exterior spaces also serve to bring sunlight and cross-ventilating breezes into and through the interior spaces of the villa.