Ordos villa by Estudio Barozzi Veiga



Spanish architects Estudio Barozzi Veiga have designed a house for Inner Mongolia, China, as part of the Ordos 100 project.


The house is one of 100 private residences, all designed by different architects selected by Herzog & de Meuron for the Ordos 100 project, which is masterplanned by artist Ai Wei Wei.


EBV's design aims to "create a space that absorbs and intensifies the character of the place and the surrounding elements."


The following information is from Estudio Barozzi Veiga:


Private Villa

Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China

Private commission

It was our challenge in this project to find an original architectural expression for the program, which is compatible with the beauty of the site and the cinematologic elements.


Our proposal intends 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. This sensible and pure building is defined by two essential elements: a glazed patio and an expressive roof.


This 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.




Posted on Tuesday September 2nd 2008 at 12:29 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • abdulqadirabas

    I dislike the form but love it in term of cinematologic quality and the porosity of the monolithic wall!I just hope there is more articulation either in details or materials wise. : )

  • One

    Strange European architecture in the middle of Mongolia. A showviz type of development, Europe in China, re inventing the local culture by the Europe, which is questionable if it is good for China?

  • benjamin

    hmmm it reminds me of….

    well, take the “elbphilharmonie”, hamburg’s new concert hall by herzog & de meuron, shrink it and ooops – you’re done…

  • critic

    scharoun philharmonie > h&dm elbphilharmonie > now this (only formal comparison).
    even the section is from h&dm…
    images and ideas are all nice, but eventually generic. but there isn’t also really a context to adhere to, is there?
    a tent (in mongolia the tens are rather roundish and and their peak is in the middle, not at the periphery) is turned into stone/brick/concrete, it became a monument.

  • One

    HOw could be a house so complex, or is it the hidden theme, rich men’s villa in China?

  • kritic

    I don´t believe that the patio belongs to the mongolian culture…

  • archenx

    where is the ecology thoughs for the desert architecture?

  • tim

    haha the only context it absorbed here is across the globe in hamburg. I wonder how they feel about this as the people who selected the architects in the first place? Did they mean to select parrots or are they actually pissed about this?

  • eduardo

    don’t they have better architects in Mongolia???

  • Manuel Torres

    Just for your information, these architects are not spanish: their office is located in Barcelona but they are italian. And before stablishing their own practice they worked for Guillermo Vázquez Consuegra in Sevilla (Spain).

    Hope you can still correct this post.


  • its interesting (tending towards ridiculous) how the process of transplanting architecture today, conceptualised in one culture and then most often violently transplanted in another compels the creator to glorify the very little, often romantic knowledge one has of these far off locations.

    the sole contribution to the context are highly distorted, simplified interpretations and often mockeries of age old elements like the tent, the patio and the verandah, but the final creation bears none of the richness of these timeless features. the villian here (not the architect)is the tendency of rich people to order any kind of architecture, in any kind of place. making tents and patios in mongolia is not a fit means of acknowledging context. it is very ‘disneyesque’.

    also the image of the solitary ‘tent’ rendering will be so different when this villa is placed amongst the 99 other thematic pieces. what will it then look like?……. just that- a disneylike exhibit.

    sorry , but this is not contextual apart from the fact that ‘it sits where it sits, and that might be okay. but please , no romanticization in the name of tents and patios. a stinking rich family is going to live here. best regards!!

  • why does that pattern repeat itself?

  • gaque

    i agree with many of the comments here. this has no worthwhile relationship with its site.

    spatially, i do find it interesting, but you would think that a single house in the middle of the desert would be more unique? this is typical cool european architecture…

    why is it a square? also, the lot sizes for this development are pretty small…so i agree that the disney land effect seems probably.

  • ldl1

    I would disagree that this is a european house with forced, post-empire fascinations with the desert. Would you be so upset about the same roof profile from a local (albeit Han Chinese) architect?

    See the ‘well hall’ house, by MADA s.p.a.m. in the following link.


    There’s been a quickness with judgments against foreign practice. With international commerce and trade, I suspect that the local has been supplanted more and more with the global. Cultures have continually been trading ideas and techniques; this has become nearly instantaneous with not only communications but also supply. One may as well stop buying bananas in the winter – if you’ll stretch the idea to available produce – or build with steel from Korea.
    The only bastion for the purity of the regional are in trades that have no immediate access to the global market, and are oblivious to things outside their surroundings. Like aboriginal songlines, these are the ones that can uphold a tradition through hermetics and local intensities.

  • gaque

    MADA s.p.a.m.’s house with a similar roof is another story. It’s really not even that similiar. Look at the Elbe Philharmonie…

    Here, the architect has made the formal gesture for a symbolic purpose (“solidification of nomadic tent”).

    I understand that architects are part of the globalized styles and/or approaches–MADA s.p.a.m., a Chinese firm, included. What I criticize is not the lack of pure regionalism, but the abundance of superficial attempts to look like a local.

    Also, yes, seasonal fruit is a very good idea.

  • You are saying that’s a shriken version of HdeM’s Hamburg building? So before that please take Berlin concert hall by Scharoun and compare the two, adding some bits of the interview given by Herzog in the first El Croquis.

  • CBC

    more information abot this house please. Its for a university proyect. thanks.

  • I actually like this project. Yes, it looks like the Philharmonie in Hambrurg, but it is definately nog stolen. Atleast net more the any part of modernism to Le Corbusier. It is part of a new move in Architecture, wich started only just about 2 years ago, to move back to the arches en spheres of the old days, and to re-enterprit them in a new fashion. Atelier Bow How has also made a very interesting move for Ordos. Yes, it is daring, somethimes strange, but not formalism. It’s reaching back to achive the new. Some say it is more Human. “Minimalism is Dead” wrote one of the top critics ownly last year. But these architects feel that “maximalism” is the trap of the other extreme. My collegues and i feel that this can be an interesting anser.