ordos 100

Ordos 100
Mar 19, 08 6:28 am

who gets to live there? Imagine the neighbors. Talk about competition.

Mar 19, 08 8:12 pm  · 

Lets also not mention the overt commodification of good design like its some kind of boutique item to be organized like shoes or handbags.

But if they are letting poor people live there, then I retract my comments and think its a great idea.

Mar 19, 08 8:13 pm  · 

it is going to be a bigger commune in a desert.

Mar 19, 08 8:17 pm  · 

Is a commune an elitest social utopia?

Mar 19, 08 8:35 pm  · 

you meant a chinese style "communist" heaven?

Mar 19, 08 9:27 pm  · 

yes but only for the people with enough 关系 to get a ticket

Mar 20, 08 1:39 am  · 

round 2 is coming up this weekend.

Apr 9, 08 9:33 am  · 

more on ordos project

Apr 9, 08 9:38 am  · 
spaceman spiff

was at a presentation tonite at the belgian embassy by three architecture firms doing work on the ordos 100 project. basic show and tell of previous projects and their current ordos work. Q and A after raised several questions of note, amongst others:

1 - how is the issue of context (ie. sandstorms, harsh environment) dealt with?

2 - is there consideration given to the urbanistic relationship between the different buildings?

3 - the fact that there are no chinese designers chosen, and a huge disproportion of europeans and americans - is this disturbing?

all parties gave pretty lightweight answers, mostly along the lines of naive optimistic thinking. one line of thought for #2 was that through experimentation, there may be a new urbanistic idea that results. that although experiments like weissenhof seidlung had agendas, ordos may find value in what is discovered, after it comes to fruition.

my cynical self wanted to say something, but held back. then a chinese architect (probably one of no more than a handful in a crowd of about 150) piped up and basically said (paraphrasing):

given that there is little consideration given to local conditions and urban context, isn't it just lip service to try to intellectualize the project and not admit it's just a marketing gimmick? ai wei wei (the curator) himself is no longer an artist, but merely an agent for rich developers. people should just see it for what it is - a good marketing strategy for the developer, and a complete blank canvas for each invited designer to go all out and have fun with. both sides are happy and that's that.

knowing the china scene a bit, i find very little intellectual work being done here. the idea of using brand name architects or in this case, the idea of foreign designers, for marketing is widespread. nothing wrong with this, it's just business. but let's not get carried away and think that it's anything more shall we?

the idea of millionaires coming to buy villas in ordos, i just can't see.

anyone there tonight who has a different opinion of what was said? is there more to ordos than what i've seen? would be happy if someone could counter my cynicism.

Apr 10, 08 12:39 pm  · 

No your cynicism is pretty golden

Apr 11, 08 12:32 am  · 

considering how closely these villas will be jammed together, it will be an architectural zoo.

and yes, the investor is bloody rich.

Apr 11, 08 10:11 am  · 

more photos here
Apr 15, 08 9:57 am  · 

more pics:

Apr 15, 08 5:38 pm  · 

as far as urbanistic's more or less impossible for there to be any relationships between houses. Each firm was given a plot that was 'suggested' within their site boundaries. the intent was for you to stay within those areas so that each house could open up to the south to receive sunlight.

the north facade was supposed to have no openings at all...unless there was a very important reason.

so that was more or less the only thing a firm would know about it's neighbor...and that would only be if each firm followed the 'rules'. they really didn't want to limit each rule was made so that it could more or less be broken..within reason. each house is only being put through dd...and then it'll be handed off to an associate architect in china.

the main obvious reason that the designers are where they're from is herzog. he chose people he knows..or other people who were recommended by people he knows. it's also seems to be a simple fact that buildings designed by people outside china are a wanted commodity in china...for whatever reason..or at least that has seemed to be the case for every project i've worked on that's been put up over there.

and despite the pessimism of spaceman spiff (my favorite calvin and hobbes cartoons from back in the day) these houses will sell easily. if you look on the pictures..there are huge developments of cookie cutter houses/mansions around these 100 sites...they are all EXACTLY the same...and they've all sold. it'd be foolish to think that these won't sell.

with that said it probably is a marketing gimmic...but is it one we should dislike as architects? there's obviously questions and possible ways of doing it better..but a developer is actually paying for good design and the opportunity for some young firms to possibly build for the first time...this is a huge opportunity for some..there are no huge firms on that list...maybe some like LTL, narchitects and Work..but these firms are still fairly young...

i guess the basic question is: would we rather have this site as any other development/sprawl tract or is it better as 100 unique pieces of architecture?

i guess another question would it bad that architects are actually getting used to sell something? that people are actually associating value with architects?

Apr 15, 08 5:54 pm  · 
spaceman spiff

excellent summary from lars and some context on whether they'll sell.

i think my cynicism was aimed more towards the architects who presented work at the event i attended. as i said, nothing wrong with doing business, its just that their responses to questions were weak and naive in my mind. maybe architects have come to believe that they must present themselves as innocuous, humble people who are always altruistic and looking to serve society.

lars' last couple of points are more realistic and it'd be nice to see more architects with this viewpoint.

May 16, 08 5:38 am  · 

is this the modern equivelant to the case study houses?

May 16, 08 12:23 pm  · 

Nothing wrong with Architects being used to sell something, been happening for(ever). And I am sure the houses will sell, precisely because of the marketing, gimmicry.

However, i would like to quibble with the bit about "good design"
Just because being designed by architects and not contractors and just because they are going to be "unique" doesn't necessarliy convince me that they will be "good design". Especially given the fact that they don't, from all the press etc i have read, seem to be require dor even thinking/telegraphing (at this early stage) their intent to address or deal with the context both environmental and societal..
Some issues (for me)
1) it is in a desert
2) they are building stand alone homes
3) where is the social and environemntal responsibility reflected in the design?

All that being said, I am glad that some young firms will be able to actually build and that they are at least using architects....

May 16, 08 12:57 pm  · 

Recent Designboom article about Ordos 100. here
Has some preliminary design images for some of the projects.
I liked this one the best.

I also found this bit most interesting. Eyal is principled that much is obvious. Although i guess he has a bit more of a renown/reputation already, i for his writings..

He apparently withdrew after the first phase of the competition because...

[i/]“It’s a 1950s model of a suburb and essentially it is, to my knowledge, a gated community,” he says. “We can’t simply repeat patterns that we know and understand to be catastrophic in an urban sense. There is a whole lot of expertise and research that could have mobilised a sense of knowledge in urban issues. It could have turned this into a cutting-edge site, not a site for cutting-edge architecture."[i/]

Jun 4, 08 10:38 pm  · 

Jul 12, 08 11:13 pm  · 

Can anyone think of comparable projects in the US? I mean in terms of collections of high design being built together on one site, with a wealthy patron. All I can think of is Celebration, with Stern and Deamer and Johnson (I think Johnson?). But that's not quite the same.

Jul 13, 08 9:53 am  · 

^ Sure.

Jul 13, 08 7:25 pm  · 

Yeah, how'd that one work out? Love that Reiser+Umemoto house ...

BTW, Kablakistan, Celebration was RAMSA and Cooper Robertson.

Jul 13, 08 10:32 pm  · 

would seaside fall in that realm?

Jul 14, 08 3:48 am  · 

Bert de Muynck | MovingCities just published 'Babel for Billionaires', a publication featured MARK#15, August-September 2008. The piece gives an insight in the development of the project during its two first meetings, in January and April 2008. Featured and discussed projects of following participating architects; Productora (Mexico), Testbedstudio (Sweden), Encore Heureux + G-Studio (France), NL Architects (The Netherlands), Derek Dellekamp (Mexico), Senan Abdelqader Architects (Israel), Mimarlar (Turkey), Matharoo Associates (India) and Alejandro Aravena Architects (Chile).

Oct 4, 08 12:27 am  · 

This would basically sum up the design/strategy issue with most of the houses...

I thank you for your time even if you don't visit.

Dec 3, 08 2:24 pm  · 

Am I the only one waiting for Ai Weiwei to publish a statement saying "Ha, fooled y'all - the design community is a bunch of suckers"

Dec 3, 08 2:37 pm  · 

This is all monument and no fabric - its really anti-fabric. Design is pretty much only boutiquery now: it seems like there are two groups of people - those with more than enough money to finally make their little castles, or those who will only ever have enough money to move into what already exists. Well, perhaps thats only within the realm of clients - and not a humble one amongst them. Design as a whole seems to have entered two realms: the purely luxurious or the profit-driven, bottom-line functional.

Maybe I should initiate a luxury grade Taco Bell Lounge campaign and do my architectural duty to serve the people while (on my knees) actually serving the investor.

Dec 3, 08 2:51 pm  · 
david basulto

We have been featuring all the ORDOS 100 projects at ArchDaily:

More to come each week.

Jan 1, 09 11:02 am  · 

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