The Green Green Grass of Home
Westwood Green Shanghai – unique enclave where expatriates feel right at home
Issue: May 2010
At the time of development, the terrace houses of Westwood Green Shanghai filled a niche for mid-sized landed property and were amongst the first of such property to be built in the city
The moment Yuan Sulian
stepped into Westwood Green Shanghai, she knew she wanted to make it her home. For this expatriate from Taiwan, who is married to a German and has an 11-year old daughter, it was simply love at first sight.
“The moment I saw the community, I told myself that I wanted to live here,” she enthused.
Westwood Green Shanghai is a pioneer in properties of its kind as this development also includes terrace houses. Until it came along, there were only villas or low-rise apartments in the area.
“We saw a need for town houses and stepped in to meet the demand,” said Cheng Ming, General Manager of Design Management in CapitaLand China Investment Corporation.
An Exclusive Expatriate Enclave
A cosy residential community at Westwood Green Shanghai with just 295 three-storey terrace houses and 134 low-rise apartments
Completed in 2007, the approximately 150,000m²-property sits on prime land. Located in Huacao Town, Minhang District, northwest of Shanghai, it is within Jin Feng International Community and right across the street from Shanghai American School and near the British International School as well as other international schools in the area.
“The location of Westwood Green Shanghai is very important. With so many international schools around, it serves the needs of the expatriate community in the area,” said Cheng.
And this is precisely the reason why Yuan loves her home. Before living in Westwood Green Shanghai, she and her family were living in Gubei area. Everyday, her daughter, Jasmine, had to travel for an hour to get to school and then another hour to get home.
“Now, school is just a 3-minute commute and Jasmine has more time to sleep in,” said Yuan.
11-year old Jasmine enjoys the fact that school is now almost right next door to her home
The largely expatriate community is yet another draw for Yuan whose family fits right in with the neighbours from all over the world.
“I’ve got neighbours from Great Britain, the US and Singapore. I love to have parties in my backyard and I even plan to start a yoga class with some of the friends that I have made here,” she said.
Indeed, the convenience of the location cannot be overstated because Westwood Green Shanghai is also just minutes away from restaurants and pubs; as well as three branches of French hypermarket, Carrefour; and other expatriate grocery stores such as Pines & City Supermarket in Hong Qiao.
Creating Space and Light
Designed by acclaimed American architect, Benjamin Wood, the property’s central feature is a specially designed lake. Arranging the units around the lake released more space, allowing for a better layout for the houses. Every house and apartment is positioned to allow for an unparalleled view of the lake.
“The most unique feature of the terrace houses is their design,” said Cheng. “Town houses tend to be long and somewhat narrow, which makes them dark. But our architect configured the design of the development in such a way we were able to release more land to the houses.”
As a result, Wood was able to make each lot wider and create a courtyard at the front of the terrace homes. He also raised the entry into the house and lifted the back garden from the front one so the basement is only partially underground and forms an ideal entertainment area. In units where there are ground level bedrooms, Wood created a double volume living room and second floor rooms with windows that look into the living room area to allow for maximum light.
“In the end, every house is flooded with light and ventilation and has the feel of a corner terrace on an intermediate space,” said Cheng. “Everything feels light and airy and the design took the market by storm.”
Working with Nature
And Wood lets Nature in in other ways as well. Westwood Green Shanghai’s facilities include an infinity pool that blends seamlessly into the lake, and an open-air clubhouse that lets in the cool air of temperate Shanghai, with a gym on the upper floor.
“It is important to take advantage of the lovely weather here. What is the point of having everything air-conditioned if you’re living in the suburbs where the air is so fresh? You might as well be living in the city,” said Cheng.
Because the property straddles Jin Feng Road, Wood also ensured that both the East and West sites had their own set of facilities like the clubhouse, swimming pool and squash court so each portion of the property is a self-contained capsule.
“We wanted the residents to feel safe living here and not to have to worry about crossing a major road to get to the facilities. So the way it has been designed is ideal,” added Cheng.
Contemporary Design for a Modern Home
The clean lines and a modern look of the units provide a refreshing alternative to ornate interiors available in the market then
Another unique feature of Westwood Green Shanghai is its contemporary interior and the fact that it comes fully furnished.
“It was unusual at that time for developments in China to come furnished. But we decided to furnish our units because we wanted to also appeal to buyers who wanted to buy the houses and then rent them out,” explained Cheng.
And while the surrounding properties were going for European or Classical designs, Westwood Green Shanghai opted for the more streamlined modern look.
“We didn’t want to compete with the surrounding villas. And the modern look was not common in the market then so we felt we could fill that gap, “said Cheng.
That certainly was the right decision because residents like Yuan now have nothing but rave reviews about their home in Westwood Green Shanghai.
“The house is very thoughtfully decorated. It’s simple yet elegant and I love the fact that the kitchen come complete with a Bosch refrigerator, a General Electric oven and with just a few other pieces of additional furniture, was in virtually move-in condition,” said a very satisfied Yuan.