Photographs of a European style castle with a Chinese style rock garden, near Tianjin. About 16 years in the making, these palatial grounds will open to the public in June 2012. By then, the cost estimate will stand at around 20 million USD. The site is connected to the center of Tianjin via a level 1 highway.
The owner, Mr. Chen (in the last image), is also the designer and builder. In talking to him he made it clear that the design is "inspired", and not copied or transplanted. I don't think he ever traveled outside China. His father started a very famous collection of decorative rocks, used in Chinese-style landscaping throughout the Far East. The site depicted here is home to a nationally acclaimed collection of rockery, including fossilized dinosaurs.
The main building, a European castle-like mansion, has over 6000 square meters of interior space. Three more, rather substantial building in the same style, plus galleries, walkways, bridges etc., make up the public compound area. A series of stand-alone, two-story villas (these are not shown here), form a straight line behind the main building. As with many eclectic sites of this nature throughout the world, there is a cave themed structure on the east side (images 22 to 27).
As mentioned above, opening month will be June 2012. As far as a business model goes, the owner is not interested in recovering his substantial investments. It will be a club, an amusement park, and whatever else might strike Mr. Chen's fancy.
Site visit on November 25, 2011. Photographed with Olympus E-5 and Leica Vario-Elmarit. Color processing in Lightroom 3.4, b/w processing in NIK Silver Efex 2.0
Thomas H. Hahn
Tianjin, Beijing, and Ithaca, NY
© Thomas H. Hahn Docu-Images