The coal- and gas-rich city of Ordos in northern China boasts a new central district devoid of people. The contemporary city centre was built from scratch on the arid Mongolian steppe at a cost of over $161 billion, and was projected to house over 1 million people. Currently, the government claims that 28,000 reside in the new area. Despite the lack of residents, property continues to be a hot commodity in Ordos.
As part of the development of what has become a modern ghost town, the government commissioned architects Herzog & de Meuron and artist Ai Weiwei to curate a luxury housing area in the new district called “Ordos 100.” One hundred architects from twenty-seven countries were chosen to participate, each of whom was asked to design a 1000-square-meter villa. The hundred villas would fit into a master plan designed by Ai Weiwei.Directed by Ai Weiwei, the film Ordos 100 documents three visits to the site, during which time the master plan and design of each villa was completed. As of this date, the Ordos 100 project remains unrealized.
Learning From… Ordos is part of a sequence of lectures called Learning from…</a Boomtowns, part of the wider Learning From… series which takes its title from Learning From Las Vegas (1972), Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Steven Izenour’s influential publication. In this spirit, the series brings together experts to explore specific urban conditions and their relevance to the future development of cities.