China has the World's Emptiest Museum

Welcome to Kangbashi, China's emptiest city

By ; published Saturday, January 7th, 2012
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What do you do when overpopulation becomes a crisis? You build a planned city in the middle of a desert, of course. At least, that’s what China did.

You might have heard of the Kangbashi district in Ordos, located in Inner Mongolia. It’s filled with huge skyscrapers, administrative centers, government buildings, museums, theaters, and beautiful homes. It was meant to support 1 milllion people . . . and nobody lives there.

The funny thing is, the only reason for the abandonment is because the government simply can’t convince people to move there, despite the area having lots of wealth and being close to natural resources. Construction seems to continue anyway.

So, it’s with curious resilience that the passive solar museum of Ordos was built anyway, despite having hardly any visitors. Yet, it’s probably one of the coolest museums we’ve ever seen, with its incredible design mimicking the desert’s dunes; the “undulating facade’s copper louvers allows for natural lighting and ventilation for passive climate control.” Inside, skylights light up the building where pathways lead to exhibitions to someday showcase cultural relics of the region.

It also has dual entrances for better flow of people, a glazed roof and glass walls, a massive open atrium, and other features so futuristic that it’s hard to believe the place isn’t jammed with people.

So, what will become of Ordos and its epic museum? It seems like only time will tell. Perhaps now is a good time to move to China.



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