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Monday, March 16, 2009

Double Class Villa

Double Class Villa in New Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China by Babel Architectures

Text and images are courtesy Israel's Babel Architectures (Sharon Rotbard with Dan Hasson and Yuval Yasky), for their design of a villa for Ordos 100 in Inner Mongolia.

The Double Class Villa's program was divided into two distinct volumes: a big villa for the owner and a small one for the worker. In order to preserve the notion of the villas as distinct, clear objects dominating their "property," and in order to reduce the neighborhood's density, all of the common and space-consuming elements of the program are located below the ground level. The foot print ratio of the built areas above the ground level is 15%.

The private spaces of the villa's owner and the villa's worker are located in two distinct cubes juxtaposed side by side. The choice of this form stems from the logic of the master plan that designated the footprints of the villas as generic squares. As the planners were encouraged by the client to use brick as a main construction material, the two cubes are covered with brick skins. Since in China gray brick is twice as expensive as red brick, the owner's cube is gray and the worker's cube is red. The two cubes have separate and private access from the main underground entrance floor and from the ground floor camouflage carpet.

The Big Gray Cube houses the owner's five bedrooms. It is of 1,058 cm (34 ft) length and three levels, with two bedrooms on the first level, two bedrooms on the second level, and the master bedroom on the third level. The Small Red Cube houses the worker's dwelling. It is of 798 cm (26 ft) length and two levels, with the living room, the dining room and kitchen on the first level; the bedroom and its services and bathroom on the second level. In both cubes, all the rooms (floors, walls and ceiling) are covered with brickwork in the corresponding colors. All the closets and bathrooms are white.

Most of the plot is covered by a carpet that reproduces a standard "woodland" camouflage pattern which represents a portion of a generic landscape and hides all the common and luxurious parts of the villa from curious gazes either from the street or from Google Earth. The camouflage pattern of the landscaping will be formed by hollow paving. According to the design pattern, the hollow parts will be filled with different plants or fillings (chosen according the seasons or taste). Protected from sandstorms and wind, the underground level houses the entrance, reception areas, three inner gardens and patios, and common and leisure facilities in one open space flanked by the different services attached to them.

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