In 2008, Simon Conder Associates were selected by the Swiss architect, Jacques Herzog and the Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei as the only UK architect to participate in the Ordos 100 project in Inner Mongolia. This project involved 100 architects from around the world designing 100 large 'villas' in 100 days in the new city of Ordos.
Our site is on the edge of the Ordos 100 development with fine views out over the landscape to the west over the water to the wild landscape beyond. For this reason we wanted to build relatively high to capture these views.
Our 'three towers' concept is a mixture of the symbolic and the practical. At the symbolic and practical level our building relates to both the earth and the big Mongolian sky. At lower ground level a cave-like structure provides both shelter and warmth for the main living areas. While the three towers above, with their spiralling external stairs, literally reach for the sky.
At a practical level this contrast between the horizontal and the vertical means that all the family activities can be located together, at the same level around a large south facing courtyard. The three towers above allow a degree of independence for different family members and each tower has its own large roof terrace offering dramatic 360 degree views out over the surrounding landscape and the Ordos 100 development itself.