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Orange County, China

Author: • May 5th, 2006 •

Category: architecture, Ballardosphere

“ORANGE COUNTY, China — An hour’s drive north of Beijing, on an icy country road lined by fields and populated by trucks and sheep, the landscape is a far cry from palm-ringed golf courses and “Surfin’ USA.”

But wait. There is Sun City, a half-built gated community with echoes of the desert. Then the tidy homes of Orange County come into view. Finally, you drive through a stone portal, past advertisements showing men fly-fishing in cowboy hats, pulling up before the impressive mansions of Watermark-Longbeach, the epicenter of faux L.A. in China.

“I liked it immediately — it is just like a house in California,” exulted Nasha Wei, a former army doctor turned businesswoman, sitting on a white suede banquette in the four-bedroom home in Orange County (China) she moved into this year.

Bits of American geography are popping up all over Beijing, the latest fashion in real estate marketing and sales. Soho, Central Park, Palm Springs and Manhattan Gardens are among recent developments.

In many instances, the name is just an American location tacked on to typical upmarket Chinese apartments. But at Orange County and Longbeach, developers have promised clients the real deal — so long as they can afford the minimum half million-dollar price tag.

Houses are replicas of Southern California homes, designed by Southern California architects, with model homes decorated by Los Angeles interior designers. The basement pool tables are American. The appliances are imported. The tiles, wood siding and wall sconces are from the United States, too. ”


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4 Responses »

  1. Ballardictorians…

    Ballardian.com posted an insightful interview with Mike Ryan (co-author of the RE/Search book on Ballard) about how JG Ballard’s writing has influenced muscians, especially punk and postpuk musicians, and Ballard’s own attitude toward music in his w…

  2. And what’s next?
    Oh, we don’t want any of that made in China junk. We only want the real american labeled…junk.
    The stuff that only expensive labour can make.

  3. \’Residential Architect Magazine\’…

  4. Perhaps it’s worth pointing out that London’s Soho preceded New York’s, which itself was named after a picturesque cathedral city you might of heard of in England.

    All of this is not new.

    Just imagine what might come next – something as mad as Chinese-themed micro-cities in capitals across the world? Oh wait….

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