This villa is located in plot ORDOS project.
Architects: Mass Studies Project Team: Minsuk Cho, Kisu Park, Joungwon Lee, Hyunseok Jung, Sanghoon Lee, Cheonkang Park, Joonhee Lee, Kyungmok Park Location: Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China 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 desert landscape of Ordos, located in Inner Mongolia, China, is perhaps one place on Earth that is closest in resembling moonscape. It provides a context of vast nothingness, where 100 architects, each design a 1000㎡ villa on a nearly flat, gently undulating dunescape. The master plan of Ordos100 suggests an organic tiling of lots, occupied by a single volume object building, with little regulations and requirements. The freedom of possibilities was inevitable, where architects could keep to the compressed object building or expand that single volume into a plethora of spatial organizations.
The Knot House is a site specific and simultaneously autonomous response to its ambiguous and undetermined surroundings. Trapped and huddled by seven other surrounding lots and situated on the highest elevation of the essentially flat terrain, the Knot House takes advantage of the uncertainties of its milieu and also its somewhat unique position. It initially performs as a single residential complex but can be divided into multiple houses or other programs as well. The potential to provide for a variety of possible configurations, as separate parts or as a whole, allows the Knot House to become ambiguous and adaptable, performing as a house or at other times “Not House.”
The cyclical movement of a single-story courtyard house typology was stretched three-dimensionally into a “trefoil knot,” with a continuous linear band of activities. The knot entwines at several points to create a form similar to three rings, each at different levels, interlaced at the center. This arrangement also provides shortcuts to destinations within the house to minimize redundant movements. This configuration presents different paths around the entire house within a complex looping circuit-weaving inside and outside-through different spatial conditions that contain diverse activities.
The continuous knot configuration creates numerous courtyards differing in size and character. Unlike typical enclosures with an inward focus, these multiple courtyards serve not only as extensions of adjacent interior spaces, but also as mediators between the larger developing territory of Ordos and the smaller interior spaces within the house. The courtyards delineated by the knot’s loops are the focal points of interior activities. The program was grouped roughly into three loops: the living/dining loop, the sports/entertainment loop, and the private rooms/support loop. Each of the loops, coupled with its courtyards, varies dramatically: one rests on the ground, the other is underground with water components, and the third is suspended in mid-air. Some of the courtyards feel very open, while others have an almost interior, reclusive quality. It is not immediately apparent how many courtyards are inside the house. One courtyard connects to another, simultaneously flowing in horizontal and vertical directions. The Knot House could be seen as a contemporary adaptation of a “courtyard house,” or futong, in a fluid, three-dimensional form. It is able to be edited and reconfigured for shifting conditions and needs that may result from factors ranging from unforeseen sociopolitical or economic events to the drastic seasonal, climate changes of Ordos.