North-facing houses are a close second; corner lots are less valuable. This time around they're the ones with the economic power. Once builders figure out how to navigate the system, they can turn out one multimillion-dollar house after another. Before he left China, he designed large shopping centers and hotels. He is not a licensed architect, marketing himself, like Chan, as an "architectural designer. With its high ceilings and exterior dripping with filigree, it is as much the product of eclectic architectural influence — and showy new money —- as even the flashiest Arcadia houses by Tong and Chan.
Deng Xiaoping famously described his grand experiment mixing communism with capitalism, begun 35 years ago, as "socialism with Chinese characteristics. Bennett's eclectic design mixed the English Queen Anne and American "stick" styles with elements of Swiss chalet architecture and references to Moorish landmarks and Chinese pagodas. He is not a licensed architect, marketing himself, like Chan, as an "architectural designer. A growing architectural rivalry between the two men is a key part of a construction wave that is radically remaking Arcadia. Their high prices are produced by a near-perfect balance, in post-immigrant Southern California, between an increasingly intense flow of money from mainland China and an established Chinese American community. Northern Arcadia also has winding streets and protected oak trees, which make building a house complicated. Asked what percentage of the prospective buyers were Asian, he laughed. The wealthiest Chinese buyers "want to be seen. Advertisement In Arcadia, houses put the wealth of these newcomers on full display. As a south-facing house with a circular drive, wok kitchen and seat, 3-D home theater, the new residence ticked virtually every box on the Chinese-buyer checklist. Tong and Chan know what newly minted Chinese millionaires are looking for in an American house. Actually, you are probably the first non-Asian person to set foot in this house. It also reminds them of newly built and highly sought-after residential architecture on the outskirts of Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou. The houses Tong and Chan design represent a triple echo. Once builders figure out how to navigate the system, they can turn out one multimillion-dollar house after another. That title belongs to Robert Tong, 54, founder of the equally prolific firm Sanyao International. North-facing houses are a close second; corner lots are less valuable. The result is that much of the high-end construction has been pushed south, to the relatively treeless flats below Huntington Drive. There's also the history of Arcadia itself to bear in mind. Yet to dismiss them as mere eyesores would be to miss a larger story about immigration and architecture in Southern California in an age of globalization. The ideal tear-down site occupies a precise location that developers know will appeal to Chinese buyers: A decade ago, a Chinese developer teamed up with an architect from Newport Beach to create a high-end gated community north of Beijing called "Orange County. Arcadia established a design-review process in that calls on developers, in the name of aesthetic coherence, to choose "a single architecture style as a starting point in the design process. In the late s, Elias "Lucky" Baldwin, the city's founder and one of Southern California's great land barons, hired architect Arthur A. A six-bedroom, nine-bath, 11,square-foot house that Tong designed in a lavish Italianate style. New arrivals from China are not victims of change, as they were when Southern California's original Chinatown was razed in the s to make way for Union Station. Other details that you might expect to see in a house of this scale — lots of fireplaces, say, or expensively landscaped backyards — aren't included because Chinese buyers show little interest in them.
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