The Ordos Effect
In his presentation at TEDxLuxembourgCity, architect François Thiry from Polaris shares a tale about a planned city of dreams. Playing on the Bilbao effect, a Chinese developer had invited architects to design one hundred dream villas. The villas were designed for the brand new town of Ordos, 800 kilometers west from Beijing. Thiry and his colleagues designed their dream villa, participated in an architecture congress and received their payments… but none of the villas were built! François tells the audience, “We were hired less for our skills, than for our ability to project ideas across borders. We became ambassadors of a new urban brand, the newest and most ambitious Chinese city. All these projects were part of a narrative to make the city more attractive. I still don’t know what happened.” The Ordos effect, François argues, marks the passage from urban architecture to media buzz. Paradoxically, the villa is more alive in these stories than if it had ever been built.