Location: Ordos, China
Architect: Barozzi . Veiga , Estudio Barozzi Veiga / Fabrizio Barozzi, Alberto Veiga
Client: Jiang Yuan Water Engineering Ltd
Design date: 2008
Collaborators: Antonio Pinto, Agnieszka Samsel, Pieter Janssens, Michele Andreatta
Ordos is a place of extremes.
The slightly sloped landscape is formed by the basic natural elements. Severe winters goes over in hot summers, wind brings dust in the cold winter months and hot during summer.
Our proposal intents to translate this idea of essence and pureness present in the context, in the composition of the project. It will create a space that absorbs and intensifies the character of the place and the surrounding elements.
In contrast with the rough open space of the surrounding, the plan of the house is a pure form, a perfect square. The building appears like a monolithic cube, raised from the earth as an archaic stone, shaped by the strength of the wind.
This sensible and pure building is defined by two essential elements: a glazed patio and an expressive roof.
The patio refers to the traditional Chinese houses, organised around a patio. At the same time, it allows the house to change its inner climate from winter to summer, and offers the possibility to create a complex interior world with different visual and spatial relations.
The roof defines the house as the solidification of a traditional nomadic tent, an element that covers, protects and marks the place.
The result is an introverted cube characterised by its expressive roof. In this way, living in the interior is associated with the sensation of being under a tent, a protected skin, an extended sail.
The profile of the house establishes a relation with the most authentic housing forms of the region: the traditional Yurt tent, and at the same time refers to the traditional Chinese architecture of the Hutong houses, the pagodas, etc.
The project stands as an interpretation of the place where it fits, as in a mirror image, the house reflects all the peculiarities of the surrounding.
The monolithic appearance of the house is emphasised by its materiality of traditional grey Chinese bricks that will be used for all facades.
The program of the house is divided over 3 levels, in order to minimize the occupation of the parcel
1. The basement level is the place of water. It is dominated by the swimming pool that receives light from the central green patio. The gym and the service’s rooms fill the rest of the floor.
2. The ground floor is characterised by its relation with the landscape that continues into the building. On this level we find the entrance hall and private rooms. From the entrance hall, the visitor can get direct the perception of the spatiality of the house through the patio: underneath appears the swimming pool, above the living spaces under the roof-tent in a fluent spatial sequence. On the opposite side of the entrance hall a covered porch continues the exterior garden into the house. During summer, with the open patio, the entrance hall and the porch will turn into a single continuing open space, protected by the sun, in direct connection with the private green area of the house.
3. The top floor is the main floor, characterised by the open space under the curved roof. This is the place where the daily life takes place. It’s conceived like an open space, living underneath the shape of the roof and all around the patio. The difference in heights of the ceiling marks the character of the spaces, their intimacy or representation. The different terraces create a relation between the inside and outside world, organised in function of the sun, the shadows and the time of the day.
The house acquires a rich spatiality through the use of the patio, allowing visual connections through the different floors.