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The challenge issued by the artist Ai Wei Wei to a developer in northern China is to invite 100 architects to build 100 homes of 1,000 m² each. The selection of the creators by Herzog and De Meuron of Basel, Switzerland is international and heterogeneous: the 100 homes will weave together an unlikely collection of architectures.
Reacting against what could be a collection of architectures, the dwelling is conceived as a collection of space. On nine levels, superimposed spatial typologies highlight the history of architecture: the open plan, the panoptic floor, the “house inside the house, the sliding enclosures of Japanese architecture, the service sculpted by the “piece”, the spacedesign, etc. The inhabitant is converted into a nomad in his home. An elevator allows one to move around and choose, not only a floor or a design but also a spatiality.
The small plot of land to which this construction relates has been excavated in order to protect the house and its garden from the hot or frozen winds of the Gobi Desert. The vegetation once again pierces the sand that is reconquering the crater.
At the bottom of this, the house, accessible by a drawbridge, is situated in a pond that collects rainwater. The water level of the interior pool situated at the base of the building is lengthened. It is a vertical monolith of black bricks pierced by window openings that originate from the inside or frame the view over the small oasis created. The project’s architectural simplicity is highlighted by way of contrast with the eccentricity and immoderation of the design, the location and the task.

Client: Ordos Jiang Yuan Water Engineering Co., Ltd.
Site: China
Useable area: 1 000 m² SU 
Project management:
100 international architects including CFA
Curator › Ai Weiwei
Selection of architects › Herzog & DeMeuron
Mission › Basic without DET
Beginning of studies: 2008
Program: Private house

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