The fast-growing city of Ordos was founded in 2001, and this museum, the first element of a new civic centre, stands alone on sand dunes beside a lake. Given an entirely clean slate, the architects took the landscape as their starting point to produce an undulating form that lifts off the ground at its centre to suggest a winding desert viper. The exhibition space rises and falls in an uninterrupted figure of eight punctuated with openings that allow in natural light and views so that art works, architecture and landscape are integrated in a single experience. Further space is provided for research.
The Aga Khan Trust for Culture, 2011.