Ordos 100 / Ai Weiwei / 2012

Ordos 100 / Ai Weiwei / 2012


Footnotes

Others among the 100 raised different issues. Some said they felt uncomfortable being used by Mr. Cai to draw attention to a vast real estate development, of which the 100 houses are only a small part. (There will eventually be 2,500 residential units, he said.) Others said they felt as if they were there, if not as performers in an Ai Weiwei piece, then to entertain Mr. Ai, who clearly relished the chance to conduct an orchestra of 100 architects-of-the-moment. Mr. Ai, whose art works sell for millions of dollars, has worked on important Chinese buildings himself, but said he is involved in architecture “as a hobby.” ➡︎

The picture published in the New York Times of the invited architects surveying their desolate sites is absurdly comic and at the same time sad. What must be going through their minds?  Is this the Weissenhof Siedlung for the new age? Can I make great architecture here? Will I be mentioned in next Times article? Or, did I come halfway around the world for this? Am I here as an architect, or as a pawn in Ai’s latest art game? ➡︎

It is hard to say which aspect of this perspective is more unsettling—the irresponsible overdevelopment and land speculation; the conspicuous waste of natural and human resources; the utter banality of the architectural design of the buildings; the paucity of imagination and innovation in the conception and planning of an entire, new urban settlement; or, not least, the realization that all of these aspects mark trends evident anywhere and everywhere today. This is not only a confirmation of globalization’s relentless march into the future, with its bland homogeneity leveling all human diversity, but a depressing forecast of things to come. ➡︎


Extras

◼︎ Ai Weiwei: Ordos 100 model at Galleria Continua / Designboom / 2013

◼︎ The ghost town Ai Weiwei built / Austin Williams / The Architectural Review / 2013

◼︎ ORDOS100 | mediating the media / MovingCities

◼︎ Babel for Billionaires / Bert de Muynck / Mark Magazine #15 / August/September 2008


Sources

◼︎ In Inner Mongolia, Pushing Architecture’s Outer Limits / Fred A. Bernstein / The New York Times / 2008

◼︎ O, Ordos / Lebbeus Woods / May 7 2008

◼︎ Ordos Revisited /  Lebbeus Woods / October 20 2010


Zaha Hadid’s Guangzhou Opera House / Dan Chung / The Guardian / 2011

Zaha Hadid’s Guangzhou Opera House / Dan Chung / The Guardian / 2011

Les 7 dernières minutes (The Last 7 Minutes) / Edith Roux / 2014

Les 7 dernières minutes (The Last 7 Minutes) / Edith Roux / 2014