BREAKING A SALES RECORD, THIS $154 MILLION (1 BILLION YEN) HOME IN CHINA IS A STUNNING TRIBUTE TO TRADITIONAL XIANGSHANBANG ARCHITECTURE
BY EVAN MONROE
Set on a private island on the south shore of China’s Suzhou’s Dushu Lake in the Jiangsu, Province, “Taohuayuan” (“utopia” in Chinese) broke the record for Asia’s most expensive home sold in 2016, a stupefying $1 billion yen ($154 million) when it was picked up by real estate tycoon Chen Hongtian. With 72,441 square feet of living space and on a 1,663-acre plot, the traditional Xiangshanbang style compound (China’s super wealthy are increasingly shunning western-looking homes) features 32 bedrooms and 32 baths. Every bedroom, incidentally, faces south, which presented a challenge for architects but is a style considered pivotal in China for both aesthetics and home value.
It took developer Sunac China Holdings Limited three years to build, and the company Xiangshanbang Traditional Architectural and Building Skills was commissioned to handcraft all brickwork and plants.
Additional features include a cavernous wine cellar, mist-accentuated topiaries modeled on the Gardens of Suzhou (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and a lakeside swimming pool. Interior layouts and décor are a blend of traditional east-Asian and contemporary approaches.