This 1,000m2 villa is part of the Ordos 100 project, in which 100 international architects from 27 countries were invited by Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Wei Wei to each design a villa in a new city center in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, master planned by Ai Wei Wei / Fake Design. See documentary film by Ai Wei Wei.
Conceived as an Inner House within an Outer House, Villa-Villa combines two distinct spatial and thermal conditions. The Inner House is designed as a compact, essential house, containing 60% of the project’s total volume and 75% of its area. Outer House provides a protective enclosure, and a unique series of interconnected, voluminous, sky-lit spaces.
This layered strategy responds to the extreme swings of the Ordos desert climate with efficiencies in climatic and material strategies. At the same time, Villa-Villa provides its inhabitants with a variety of modes of living, as they occupy a house that expands and contracts according to the seasons.
Inner House: In this domestic core, three single-storey volumes stack on top of each other, resulting in a series of terraces on the roofs of the volumes below. Each Inner House floor is optimized in its shape, orientation and organization for particular patterns of living. The first floor privileges connections to the landscape and the spaces of the Outer House. Experienced in the round, the second floor’s open configuration connects views to the outside across a continuous living space. Functions are positioned according to solar exposure, with the kitchen and breakfast area on the East, the dining room sheltered from the western sun on the South, and the living room with views of the sunset on the West. In the sleeping quarters on the 3rd floor, four bedroom suites face different directions, each with a window on one of the four facades. The roof is designed as a fourth floor, stacked upon the volumes below, and optimized in shape and orientation to house a photovoltaic array.
Outer House: Gardens are incorporated into the diverse spaces and terraces of the Outer House, rather than exposed to the extreme climate and high rate of evaporation of Ordos. The material, light and spatial qualities of these intermediate outdoor-like spaces contrast dramatically with those of the Inner House. While warm woods, stone, glass and plaster line its carefully finished rooms, the materials of the Outer House are rougher: brick floor, painted brick walls on the interior, and an exterior surfaced in various brick textures. The single height stacked floors of the Inner House connect to the landscape horizontally through large window openings. In contrast, the spaces of the Outer House are varied in height, largely opaque, and illuminated by skylights. These opposing atmospheres create a constant fluctuation between inside and outside, side and top light, texture and abstraction.
Climate: Villa – Villa expands and contracts with shifting use and changing temperatures. In order to conserve energy, its inhabitants can choose to live mostly in the compact Inner House during the winter. This heated and conditioned zone is protected with 60mm of batt insulation, while the Outer House is in turn wrapped with 120mm of rigid insulation, and heated mostly by passive means. Arup engineers project that this approach will maintain temperatures in the Outer House at a ~30% differential between the Inner House and the outdoors. Inhabitants can choose to further warm this intermediate space with radiant heating provided in the first floor slab, or by simply opening the single glazed sliding doors separating it from the Inner House. During the rest of the year, domestic activity can cross this thermal threshold, flowing from interior to outdoor-like interior and on to the outdoors.
ORDOS 100: Villa-Villa
Client : Jiang Yuan Water Engineering Lltd
Project Location : Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China
Status : 2009; CDs completed
Area : 1,000m2 (10,000sf
Program : Villa
Sustainability : Smaller conditioned/heated “inner” house within larger “outer” house
nARCHITECTS Team : Eric Bunge, Mimi Hoang (Principals); Alice Wong (Project Manager) Dominique Gonfard, Hubert Pelletier, Adam Vana
Collaborators : MEP: Arup NY; Structure Arup NY
Curators: Ai Wei Wei/ FAKE Design + Herzog & De Meuron (architect selection)