An “unfinished” luxury haunt, Jing Jin City is a unique neighborhood located 100 miles from Beijing, China. The rural town is spotted with some three thousand villas originally intended as country homes for the elite. However, the project did not reach fruition as the real estate professionals imagined it would. Wealthy buyers did not flock to the suburban destination, many preferring to live where they work and vacation in even more remote locales. According to photographer Andi Schmied, only 2% of the modern-day palaces were bought.
Yet, Jing Jin City is not abandoned today. The town is populated and maintained by gardeners, farmers, and guards who keep the grounds in condition and set up sleeping areas and agricultural spaces inside of the some of the otherwise unused mansions. Contrary to the developers’ exclusive vision, the gated community ended up serving the working class. Captured on camera by Andi Schmied, the reality of life in Jing Jin City shows that the function and status of architecture cannot always be predetermined.