It’s difficult enough trying secure an appointment with a starchitect’s studio, but how about getting five of them to agree to work on your project? Our hats are off, then, to Phoenix Property Investors – a private equity real estate firm with a US$2.5 billion war-chest – for its newly launched development in Great Taipei New Town District. Set in a gated compound high on a mountain that’s framed by hills and views of Xue Shan and Yangminshan, The Master Collection is, despite its moniker, not a marketing hyperbole – not when it’s headlined by Richard Meier, Jim Olson, Annabelle Selldorf, Steven Harris and Calvin Tsao.
Each architect has been tapped to design one of the project’s 28 private freehold houses. The collection, says Samuel Chu, founding partner of Phoenix Property Investors, is the result of the marshalling skills of Tsao, who knew the other architects personally. Once all five architects were signed on, the details were pretty much left to them. ‘We trusted their expertise to be able to fully leave the creative liberty in their hands,’ Chu says.
The result is a set of harmonious designs – ranging from 6,400 to 13,700 sq ft with private pools and landscaping by Margie Ruddick – that slot seamlessly into the expansive natural landscape, but without losing the distinctive DNA of each architect. And so, Meier’s six villas are marked by his trademark white geometric contours, while Tsao shifts the angles of each storey to create an irregularly stacked design.
Prices start at around $5m for one of Selldorf’s houses. Olson’s five pied-a-terres, each of which includes a garden, start from $9m. The rest are scheduled to complete by the third quarter of 2018.
This is Phoenix’s first multi-architect project, though the group had previously worked with Tsao, and Skidmore, Owings and Merrill in Hong Kong. ‘We wanted to create something unique,’ Chu says, ‘a group of exceptional houses that could rank alongside the best residential projects in the world.’ We’re sold.