China – adapting traditional Ger for eco-living

Grassland community center in China’s Inner Mongolia adapts traditional Mongolian Ger for sustainable living

In the vast expanse of China’s inner Mongolia’s grasslands, Ger Atelier and Inner Mongolian Grand Architecture Design have sited the Zhengxiangbaiqi Grassland Community Center — a cluster of buildings reimagining traditional Mongolian ger structures with a contemporary framework, addressing challenges of sustainable development in pastoral areas.

In response to the harsh climate, scattered housing structures, and strong coupling of production and residence in such areas, the team has developed a lightweight prefabricated building system suitable for local nature, resources, and society. A Mongolian ger system with a lightweight wooden pole structure has been developed, adapting new settlement layout patterns, types of housing spaces, and corresponding construction techniques for grassland pastoral and cultural tourism residences.


In the heart of grassland human settlement environments, the traditional Mongolian ger serves as a symbol of wisdom. Its dome-shaped design reflects the spiritual essence and core values of nomadic ethnic groups, as well as an ingenious response to natural climate, offering easy assembly, disassembly, and portability. Drawing from this heritage, Ger Atelier and Inner Mongolian Grand Architecture Design have reconstructed the ger’s spatial form, integrating unit modules and combination expansion mechanisms into the planar space. This creates a more diverse and open space that meets modern usage needs, resulting in a flexible architectural prototype and database.

The structural pole ger system adapts the traditional ger’s Hana wall and evolves into an assembly-type structural system suitable for grassland. The Hana wall forms an elastic structural system through the binding of willow twigs and rawhide ropes, which here are replaced by integrated glued wooden poles and prefabricated steel components, accumulating, and combining in an orthogonal logic to construct a stable structural system. By scientifically calculating and arranging the poles, a structural model database that can be freely selected to respond to different climates, scales, and spatial forms is established. It features factory prefabrication, on-site assembly, small structural cross-sections, and light overall weight, allowing for rapid construction and installation on the grassland without the need for large mechanical equipment.

Zhengxiangbaiqi Grassland Community Center reimagines traditional Mongolian Ger structures

Sited in the vast expanse of inner Mongolia’s grasslands

Adapted dome-shaped design reflecting the spiritual essence of nomadic ethnic groups


Building upon the foundation of the structural design and in response to practical needs, the Zhengxiangbaiqi Grassland Community Center incorporates composite maintenance structures, energy systems, and intelligent technologies to enhance sustainability and livability. Material selection and structural modelling prioritize efficiency, uniformity, and cost-effectiveness while addressing issues such as air tightness and thermal insulation. The team focuses on addressing issues such as multi-level coupling and on-site fault tolerance to ensure the building’s air tightness, thermal insulation, and heat insulation, while achieving the effect of prefabricated assembly.

The heating system employs low-temperature radiant electric heating film and wireless remote intelligent control for precise temperature regulation, minimizing energy consumption and maximizing residential comfort. This holistic approach to system design explores a new lightweight prefabricated building system for contemporary grassland communities from the perspective of low-carbon livability, reducing environmental impact. ‘We use architecture as a carrier, proactively drawing wisdom from relevant fields within our reach, and consciously exploring a new paradigm for the sustainable development of the grassland living environment, continuously advancing the development of the grassland living environment,’ notes Ger Atelier.


Prefabrication, on-site assembly, small structural cross-sections, and it light weight allow for rapid construction

Material selection and structural modelling prioritize efficiency, uniformity, and thermal insulation

 Mongolian ger system with a lightweight wooden pole structure has been developed

Integrating unit modules and combination expansion mechanisms into the planar space enhances flexibility

the new construction of the grasslands 7

Project info:

  • name: Zhengxiangbaiqi Grassland Community Center
  • location: Zhengxiangbaiqi, Xilin Gol League, Inner Mongolia, China
  • architecture: Ger Atelier, Inner Mongolian Grand Architecture Design
  • construction: Ger Atelier
  • design guidance: Zhang Pengju
  • lead architect: Zalagenbaier, Huhehada
  • design team: Daimurigen, Qu Wenyong, Mengkezhula, Liu Handong (internship), Xie Haodong (internship), Zhao Zhen (internship)
  • developing party: Zhengxiangbaiqi Weilisi Industrial Service Co., Ltd
  • photographer: Dou Yujun

SourceDesign Boom, April 3, 2024.

All images courtesy of the author.