I just found out about ORDOS 100, a project in Inner Mongolia to build 100 villas designed by 100 architects, to be built in 100 days.


Here's a little more detail:
The scope of the project is to Develop 100 hundred villas in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China, for the Client, Jiang Yuan Water Engineering Ltd. FAKE Design, Ai Wei Wei studio in Beijing, has developed the masterplan for the 100 parcels of land and will curate the project, while Herzog and de Meuron have selected the 100 architects to participate. The collection of 100 Architects hail from 27 countries around the globe. The project has been divided into 2 phases. The first phase is the development of 28 parcels while the second phase will develop the remaining 72. Each architect is responsible for a 1000 square meter Villa.
I'll get to the gimmick of the Swiss duo selecting this "dream team" in a bit, but first let's take a look at the site plan:

Looks like suburbia in Mongolia to me. Looks like it was designed by the client, not by the artist who collaborated with Herzog & de Meuron on the Bird's Nest, among other projects. It's apparently surrounded by more of the same, but it's disappointing nevertheless. The green space (in grey, running from the body of water on the left to the cluster of darker-grey cultural buildings on the right) attempts to salvage things, though its scale is a bit paltry. It would be interesting to see the codes and/or guidelines for the parcels (that's probably in the interactive forum, though I've yet to register to view this and other privileged information).

To the list. I was taken aback, though hardly surprised, by the coast-centric (east more than west) of the architects chosen from the United States. Take a look:


Only one architect out of the 23 listed does not practice on the east or west coast. I'm guessing this is due to several reasons (Herzog & de Meuron's teaching positions at Harvard, the general coast-centric nature of the architectural media, fear of Midwestern prairie fires) but the quality of residential architecture outside the coasts is not one of them.

Additionally, an expanded view of the North America list yields a decent number of Mexican architects but zero one Canadian architect. Ditto on my above argument. It just goes to show how much personal relationships and networking play a role in fostering opportunities like this one. How good of an opportunity ORDOS 100 really is remains to be seen.

(via architecturephoto.net)


  1. "How good of an opportunity ORDOS 100 really is remains to be seen"

    That statement might explaine why theres no midwestern architects

  2. this looks like kitsch

    yay nepotism!

  3. Is it really a prestigious opportunity when you export the idea of the American suburb abroad? Howerver, I am intrigued to see what the Oyler Wu Collabrative will contribute purely for personal reasons.

    Bradley Swarts, editor

  4. if you looked at all at what was being built in ordos prior to this project i think you'd at least have to be happy that someone is inviting architects to come and create decent architecture. the site plan may be similar to american suburbia, but the fact that each site will have a unique building will (imo) create a far more diverse experience.

    prior developments there are row upon rows of teh exact same house. worse than the typical american sprawl.

    possibly the list could've been more comprehensive (there are only 100 and their are a lot of swiss architects on there for instance). but at the same time hdem are giving an opportunity to a lot of people that don't typically have the chance to build.

  5. One guy's from Toronto... That's in Canada, right?

  6. I fully agree with you in relation to the urban design. Has anybody seen the context? Images in google earth are remarkable, here are the coordinates: N:39 37'37"
    E:109 50'42". The place is a huge dessert, the roads are intermittently cut by sand dunes. The proposed layout while enclosed by the river looks like it could be placed anywhere.!

  7. Thanks for pointing that out Brian. For some reason the list doesn't give Toronto a country...might be why my skimming of the list didn't raise that flag.

    No idea know how you found that, Ludwig, but thanks.

  8. i don't think it is written anywhere that the project will be completed in 100 days.

  9. the meeting last weekend in ordos turned out to be a mini-GSD reunion. i was told that herzog asked t.mori to select the participants from the US.

  10. H & D indeed selected the architecs, ask requester by Ai Wei Wei. FYI 100 architects and 100 day to design the project, not to build it.

  11. Thanks for pointing out the coastal bias. There are some of us in the middle of the country who know how to design too.

  12. forget about urban design/planning issue...I'm sure it's not part of their consideration, as what it appears in the site plan.
    For me the ideas is good in term of creative marketing approach..
    consider this: design is contemporary marketing gimmick, imagine, your estate is being designed by 100 architects around the world (chosen by world known star architect)... for sure they can sell the property with very good price!

    thus, it's nothing to do with whether it will look good in urban composition or not, for it is not their goal.

    Meanings,community planning & spatial quality are no longer issue here...ORDOS 100 is a 1:1 showcase of 100 architects around the world to be bought by rich art collectors...enjoy.


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