If you build it, they won't come: Abandoned architectural marvels in China's
largest ghost town
By Stephy Chung, CNN
Mon April 11, 2016
Ordos, a wealthy region in Inner Mongolia, is known as China's largest ghost
Ordos Sports Center Stadium - In the early 2000s, the local government came
up with an ambitious redevelopment plan.
The goal was to turn the city into a cultural, economic and political center.
The new city was meant to accommodate a million residents.
Ordos is one of the richest areas in the country, thanks to stores of coal,
gas and rare earth metals.
However, high real estate prices deterred people from actually moving there.
Ordos Grand Theatre - "As a result the city is now a surreal landscape of
empty streets, decaying monuments, abandoned buildings and half-finished
housing projects," says Frrench photographer Raphael Olivier.
Olivier photographed the city for his "Ordos - A Failed Utopia" photo series.
Ordos Library - Olivier first heard about Ordos about eight years ago, when
developments first started to make international headlines.
"It sounded so unreal so I told myself I would have to visit this place one
day," Olivier says.
Mosque of Ordos - Olivier moved to China in 2011, settling in Shanghai.
"I told myself I couldn't leave without seeing this city. So I just packed
my camera bag and headed there without much more thinking," he says.
Ordos Horse Racing Track - Olivier finally visited the area in late 2015.
He photographed the sites and buildings over the course of five days.
Ordos Museum by MAD Architects - Ordos' most famous landmark is the Ordos
Museum, designed by MAD Architects.
Abandoned building in Ordos 100 Project - "There is also a huge architecture
exhibition called Ordos 100 which was curated by Ai Wei Wei in
collaboration with Herzog & de Meuron," Olivier explains.
Abandoned building in Ordos 100 Project - "The project was supposed to
feature 100 conceptual architecture villas designed by various architects
from 27 countries."
Abandoned building in Ordos 100 Project - Unfortunately the project was
abandoned, leaving just 12 unfinished structures around the city.
Ordos Stadium- Ordos Stadium has a capacity of 35,107.
The local government has made efforts to entice locals to move into the area.
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