Located in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, the Ordos Museum is a crossroads for a community working to interpret its local traditions in a new urban context.
The project was first envisioned six years ago, in the then-desert wilderness of Inner Mongolia, when the municipal government of Ordos commissioned MAD to design a museum for the unbuilt metropolis. Amidst the controversy surrounding the planned city, it became evident that the museum for Ordos must navigate the many contradictions that emerge when local culture meets with visions of the future city.
Inspired by Buckminster Fuller’s “Manhattan Dome”, MAD conceived of a futuristic shell to protect the cultural history of the region and refute the rational new city outside. Encapsulated by a sinuous façade, the museum sits upon sloping hills - a gesture to the recent desert past and now a favorite gathering place for local children and families.
Upon entering the atrium, a brighter, more complex world unfolds. A canyon-like corridor connects the east and west entrances, allowing the space to become an open extension of the outer urban space. Visitors meander through the space as if in the future – yet eternal– Gobi desert.
The completion of the museum offers a moment of pause in a city which has seen no end to construction. In this vital space where the past and the contemporary are joined, people can meet with art and with each other, giving new spirit to this young community.
For more project information, please see MAD works - Ordos Museum