The Ordos Museum in China is a museum dedicated to the history and traditions of Inner Mongolia. The Ordos region is in Mongolia and is known as land of contrasts where the ancient traditions of a nomadic people and China’s impulsive modernization try to coexist. The museum designed by Chinese design company MAD at the request of the local government and built by Huhehaote Construction, houses collections relating to the local history of Ordos and the surrounding area. The Ordos Museum design on which work was started in 2005 and was completed in 2011, was influenced by several factors. Do you know what influenced its design?
The Ordos museum structure appears to have either landed in the desert from another world or to always have existed. From atop a dune-like urban plaza, the building is enriched with a convergence of naturalistic interiors, bathed in light. Whilst the surface of this shape functions as a metal container critical to protect the interior from the harsh winters and frequent sand storms of the region, metaphorically this external layer operates as a shield protecting the precious culture and history of the city from the unknown growth of the city. The museum appears to float over a waving sand hill, a gesture saluting the landscapes which have now been supplanted by the streets and buildings of the new cityscape.
The design of the museum was inspired by the landscape of the Gobi desert nearby and more importantly, by Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic domes. The spherical structure of a dome, invented by Buckminster Fuller, is one of the most efficient interior atmospheres for human dwellings because air and energy are allowed to circulate without obstruction. This enables heating and cooling to occur naturally. Geodesic shelters have been built all around the world in different climates and temperatures and still they have proven to be the most efficient human shelter one can find. MAD has said that the design of Ordos museum structure was influenced by Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic domes.
Entering the museum presents visitors with a strong contrast to the exterior: an airy monumental cave flushed with natural light through skylights. The cave links to a canyon which carves out a void between the galleries and exhibition hall and is brightly illuminated at the top. Patrons manoeuvre along the base of these primitive surroundings and through the light across mid-air tectonic bridges, reminiscent of the intersection of the past and the future of the Gobi landscape. Visitors will repeatedly cross these sky bridges and reflect upon their journey from a variety of picturesque vantages.