Architecture without | Íñigo García Odiaga

Museum of Art places in Ordos’s city, 2011 | MAD Architects

The architects we feel attraction for the architecture without, or what is the same thing, for the architecture that has parted with one of his parts. As in another type of products this luck of project without, there turns into a procedure light, but that supports all the flavor. Many are the texts or the exhibitions that gather for example spontaneous buildings generated by pure need and without any stylistic pretension, which is in the habit of being gathered under a title unifier of architecture without architects. Something similar happens with the constructions derived from the industrial world or from the infrastructures, which immediacy to solve the problem of the simplest, economic and ecologically possible form, generates fascination in the architecture. No doubt it is necessary to to the logical envy watched on having verified that these expositions that have met devoid of the corset of the architectural discipline offer for against an intelligent, forceful solution and in some cases exciting.

In the year 2004 Federico Soriano was writing a test that one was gathering peculiar vision on the work of the architecture. Graduate ” Without Thesis “, the test gathers six denials, six attitudes capable of parting with different caps of the architectural discipline. The different chapters cross architectures without scale, without weight, without detail, without gesture, without plant or without form.

One of the buildings that has turned into paradigm of the buildings without form is the recently inaugurated Museum of Ordos’s Contemporary Art.

Museum of Art places in Ordos’s city, 2011 | MAD Architects

Designed by the Chinese office MAD Architects the Museum of Art places in Ordos’s city, a new city projected in the plains of Mongolia and whose main plan was designed by the artist Ai Wei Wei, and search to be a point of meeting for a community that works for the maintenance of his local traditions inside a new urban context.

Stimulated by the economy in summit of China, the Municipal Government of Ordos was determined to create a new city, to dozens of kilometres of the current city, in a site that even it makes small it was not any more than the desert from Gobi. Ai Wei’s main plan was based on the symbolic image of the Sun that gets up in the meadow, a metaphor of to re-arise from the region. The formal translation of this idea is summarized in a radial plan that departs from a central square in the one that places the new museum, as architectural main piece and example of this claimed one to re-arise.

Museum of Art places in Ordos’s city, 2011 | MAD Architects

The project was entrusted to MAD Architects when the city still was a dream. In the middle of the controversy about the planned city, one turned evidently that Ordos’s museum had to sail before the contradictions that emerge when the local culture meets the visions of a future city still without making concrete.

The President Mao said once, tells the memory of the project, that only from a clean leaf of paper in blank there can be extracted a more new and more beautiful image. It is precisely there where the problems arise for the formal definition of the new museum. In one it tabulates levels, where the future provides a great uncertainty, it is very dangerous to design a building for the downtown, there where the urban plot still does not exist, where the references and the urban space do not exist and hardly it is known as where it is “ahead” and “behind”.

The design of the museum was conceived as a reaction to this one not plan of the city. The director takes the form of a compact element of the nature, irregular and formless, in contrast with the strict geometry of the plan. The structure is wrapped for pieces of polished metal in order that the reflections and the sheens of the shell of the museum help to dissolve his form in the foreseen environment. This shell generates a great interior space forming a new public space for the future city under a protective cover, where to be protected from the climate of the desert of the Gobi where the city is located.

Inspired by the project of science Buckminster Fuller’s fiction to cover the island of Manhattan, MAD conceived a futurist shell to protect the cultural and historical legacy of the region and to be protected from the indetermination of the new city. Encased by a sinuous front, the museum is located on a hill by few height but the sufficient one to emphasize in the immense plain that it surrounds it. A milestone in the end in the desert and now one of the favorite places of meeting for the children and Ordos’s families.

The porch, with an irregular design, is the principal space of the museum. A great circular large window serves in order that the natural light between to the interior of the museum, achieving that it is not necessary to use artificial lighting during the day. The interior is divided in several rooms of exhibitions, which are defined by the continuous curvilinear walls, they all are opened the great hall turned into public space that crosses the building.

The luminous, calm and fluid environment of this new space offers again to the visitors a space that he speaks as the exterior image of the building of the absence of form, absence of geometric clear rules and absence of hierarchies. But for against it is impossible not to think about references of the nature, cactus, anemones, fungi or other vegetable structures that summarize the images of the organic thing.

The architecture can resign many of his pretensions, many of his determining ones, but even in the idea of it her does not form, already it exists inevitably, the previous idea of the organic thing, of the fluid thing, of the continuous or unlimited thing. The form of the formless thing.

íñigo garcía odiaga . architect

san sebastián. december 2011

It´s published in ZAZPIKA 19.12.2011

Íñigo García Odiaga

Doctor Arquitecto y profesor asociado de Proyectos Arquitectónicos, ETSASS. Editor de NOMU. 1/5 del estudio de arquitectura VAUMM. Vivo en Donosti.

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