Achitectural Hordes Invade Inner Mongolia

So much for yurts. Cai Jiang has made zillions digging coal and other resources out of the Inner Mongolian ground, and ordered up 100 architectural firms to design monster homes with servant's quarters and indoor pools in a billion-dollar "cultural district" in the new city of Ordos. Money is not an issue; the workers are paid $115 a month to leave their farms and live in dormitories, so construction costs are only $30 per foot.

The New York Times notes that "Many of the architects seemed almost giddy to be freed from the constraints they face in their home cities, where historic preservation laws combined with the scarcity of building sites means that they seldom get to design buildings from the ground up."

Others felt they were there almost as performers for a man "who clearly relished the chance to conduct an orchestra of 100 architects-of-the-moment." He pointed out that Mongolians are settled now, but "These days, it's the architects, dressed in black, who are the tribe of nomads." ::New York Times

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