Morning Headlines: 18th-Century Philadelphia Goes to China

Plus: Goodbye suburban office park and hello residential development in KOP.

"Cliveden Mansion, Philadelphia, HABS PA-1184-88" by Jack E. Boucher - Historic American Buildings Survey; Library of Congress HABS PA,51-GERM,64-88. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons -,_Philadelphia,_HABS_PA-1184-88.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Cliveden_Mansion,_Philadelphia,_HABS_PA-1184-88.jpg

Cliveden, via Wikimedia Commons.

The village is called Southern 1910, will look exactly like Society Hill and will be in Dalian, a coastal city in northeastern China. The Inquirer’s Erin Arvedlund has the details on how Chadds Ford’s John Milner Architects won the business and impressed Chinese developers.

Dalian Common Property Development retained John Milner Architects to design and plan the gated community, where 200 Georgian-style brick homes will sell for between $1 million and $4 million. Of those, 65 have already been sold, ranging from 3,500 to a whopping 7,500 square feet.

In order to win the business in the first place, Milner told Arvedlund that he arranged a two-week long series of bus tours for the Chinese developers. They visited Fairmount Park, Cliveden and Mount Pleasant, among other 18th century city sites.

Milner also needed to provide a model home to convince the developers. He and Haverford’s Barbara Gisel designed and furnished the home with “classical Western” fabrics and yards of books.

For interiors such as the library, Milner purchased books “by the yard” – volumes from Baldwin’s Book Barn in West Chester, as well as art from Somerville Manning Gallery in Wilmington. Milner added that the Chinese marketing team was “shocked” that the library was painted blue: “They were used to dark woods only.”

Milner also discovered that black picture frames were appropriate only for photos of the dead. “That was minor, but important and had to be part of the design discussion,” Tang said.

Phase two of the project is slated to break ground once property has been acquired. To truly ensure an authentic look, Milner told Arvedlund that homes are being built using American bricks, and are being pointed with help from a Philadelphia mason, who let Milner bring his pointing tool to China in order for local builders to create similar pointing tools.

A Philadelphia touch in China project [Inquirer]

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