MAD Architects’ Ordos Museum Completes

ET’s Mothership Comes To China

Construction of the MAD architectural firm designed Ordos Museum recently completed in fall 2011. Extraterrestrial yet organic, the museum appears landed in the desert from another world or to have existed for millennia. The result is timeless architecture in a modern city of ruins.

Six years ago, the Inner Mongolia Ordos was an extended landscape of the Gobi desert. Today, it is an urban center mired in a familiar controversy of modern Chinese civilization: conflict between the people’s ancient traditions and dreams of the future.

In 2005, the local bureaucrats established a new master plan for its city development. Upon the initialization of this master plan, MAD was commissioned by the Ordos city government to conceive a museum to be a centerpiece to the new great city.

Thus, Chinese architects MAD set about designing the museum in the city of Ordos, in the Gobi desert. Shaped like a large undulating biomorphic shape, the Ordos Museum is clad in polished metal tiles that are resistant to frequently occurring sandstorms.

The museum appears to float over a sand hill, a gesture acknowledging the landscapes now supplanted by the streets and buildings of the new cityscape. This plaza is a favorite amongst the locals who gather their families and friends to explore, play or lounge in the pleasant landscape.

Galleries inside the museum are housed in smaller sections, connected by bridges.


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