Ordos 20+10 Office Complex, Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China.
Courtesy NADAAA in association with Himma Studio Ordos 20+10 Office Complex, Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China.


In Ordos, the 10-year-old boomtown in Inner Mongolia, the speed with which a project can be completed is a prime consideration. To facilitate rapid development, Boston-based NADAAA designed this office complex to meet a tight set of parameters.

Its site came with strict floor area limits and a prescribed 85-foot-square office floor configuration.Given these strictures, the challenge for the architects was to shape a complex with a distinctive identity that would meet further objectives: Effective vehicular and pedestrian access; flexibility in the assignment of office space, both horizontally and vertically; and shared open space to help make the project “greater than the sum of its parts.”

The "necklace" of construction wraps a shared plaza.
Courtesy NADAAA in association with Himma Studio The "necklace" of construction wraps a shared plaza.

NADAAA’s solution houses the program in five cubic volumes, rotated at odd angles and connected variously at their corners or along their flanks. The resulting “necklace” of construction defines a shared plaza. The joining of modules is achieved with angular slices at their corners that can yield sheltered entries, glazed lobbies, or canted skylights for upper levels.

Since Ordos is located in a region of China with extreme temperature variations, environmental performance of the campus was crucial. An insulation value of R40 will be achieved in a façade of locally quarried stone slabs with operable triple-glazed windows, recessed to minimize solar gain. Offices are to be heated and cooled by radiant hydronic ceiling panels served by a geothermal loop. Stormwater runoff will be stored on site for nonpotable uses, including the filling of a reflecting pool to temper summer heat on the plaza.

Stone slabs and triple-glazed windows will contribue to R40 values to withstand extreme temperature shifts in Ordos.
Courtesy NADAAA in association with Himma Studio Stone slabs and triple-glazed windows will contribue to R40 values to withstand extreme temperature shifts in Ordos.


The office complex features five mostly cubic self-similar office blocks, each of which is sliced to allow light or passage between the buildings.
Courtesy NADAAA in association with Himma Studio The office complex features five mostly cubic self-similar office blocks, each of which is sliced to allow light or passage between the buildings.

Slices allow passage between building volumes and continuity of the ground plane.
Courtesy NADAAA in association with Himma Studio Slices allow passage between building volumes and continuity of the ground plane.


Axonometric massing diagram.
Courtesy NADAAA in association with Himma Studio Axonometric massing diagram.


Plan studies.
Courtesy NADAAA in association with Himma Studio Plan studies.


Façade rendering.
Courtesy NADAAA in association with Himma Studio Façade rendering.


Sustainability diagram.
Courtesy NADAAA in association with Himma Studio Sustainability diagram.


Site plan.
Courtesy NADAAA in association with Himma Studio Site plan.


Project Credits Project: Ordos 20+10 Office Complex, Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China
Client/Owner: Shengbang Co. . Mr. Bai Yukuan
Architect: NADAAA, Boston . Nader Tehrani, Katie Faulkner, AIA (principals in charge); Tom Beresford, Remon Alberts, Arthur Chang (project architects)
Planning Stage Collaborating Architects: Himma Studio, Boston . Hailim Suh (principal in charge); Cyrus Dochow
Interior Designer: NADAAA
Architect of Record: China Construction Design International
M/E/Structural Engineer: China Construction Design International
Landscape Architect: NADAAA
Size: 120,000 square feet
Cost: Approximately $12 million

You'll find all of the other winners of this year's Progressive Architecture Awards here.