Ma Yansong Builds A Museum In Middle Of Gobi Desert

As locations go, this new museum from Creator Ma Yansong and MAD architects must win some kind of award for most far flung. This futuristic dome comes lording out of the desert mounds like a giant shiny whale, rising up out of the not-quite-yet-built city of Ordos, Inner Mongolia. It’s a beautiful-looking behemoth that covers 41,227sq meters and looks more like a vast spaceship—both inside and out—than a place to soak up some culture.

What’s also remarkable about the Ordos Art and City Museum is the place it’s been built: out in the Gobi desert. As recently as 2005 there was nothing there, but that’s not how the Municipal Government of Ordos wanted to keep it. Driven by a booming economy they decided to put a city in this landscape of extremes and in the middle of the city will sit the shimmering sandcrawler above.

It’s designed to provide a different environment to the rocky terrain and gravel plains outside, and with its curvilinear white walls, this beacon of serenity will be a cultural oasis where centuries old traditions will merge with an urban, contemporary context. Check it out in all its splendor in the wonderfully shot film below by Niu Han.