Our client, a joint venture of private companies and an agency of the People’s Republic of China, wished to preserve the character of an old Shanghai estate, known as Shanghai Cypress, and its 50 acres of grounds while creating several types of housing for westerners and other visitors. The site was the former estate of the Sassoon family and also served as headquarters for the state leaders during the critical period following the death of Chairman Mao. It also contains one of the best garden landscapes in Shanghai.

We developed a master plan for Shanghai Cypress which preserved the Sassoon mansion as a 5-star restaurant, restored the historic landscape features and renovated an existing German-style house as a club facility. The plan created a new low-rise hotel and 248 condominium apartments in two buildings, updated an existing health club and provided prototype designs for 75 new luxury villas bordering a waterway. The master plan provided two alternative site plans. Both retained the important features of the existing historic estate.

Architectural cues were taken from the estate and the outbuildings and from surrounding Shanghai where western styles have long been adapted. The buildings share yellow stucco walls and red tiled roofs, but diverge in style and scale as their functions dictate. The hotel is a German-style pavilion in a garden. The apartments are graceful towers rising along a boulevard.