Monday, February 1, 2010

The world of Tony Ashai

This current listing on Redfin introduced me to an architect I didn't know before.

11025 Anzio Road, Bel-Air.

A proper motor court, minus the Bentley.

The 19,000-square-foot Palladian-style villa, at 11025 Anzio Road in Bel-Air, is new . . . so new, in fact, that it was nothing but a construction site on the last Google Earth flyover.

The site before construction began.

But more fascinating that the impressive house (of which, let's face it, there are scads in L.A.), is the architect himself.

Thinking big: Tony Ashai.

Tony Ashai left his native Kashmir at the age of 16 to study at that unlikely outpost of Le Corbusian modernism, the Chandigarh College of Architecture in northern India. He moved to the U.S. after graduation.

In a Schwab's-drugstore-meets-Frank-Lloyd-Wright scenario, the wunderkind was "discovered" drawing a monument in downtown Buffalo, NY, by the dead of the architecture school at SUNY, who arranged a scholarship for Ashai in university's program.

M.A. in hand, Ashai decamped to New York City to work with James Barclay on the renovation of the Chrysler Building. In 1989, Ashai migrated to Southern California and joined the firm of Edward Carson Beall. Ashai opened his own firm in 1993.

Although he lives in Southern California and has an office in Torrance, Ashai seems to spend most of his time these days developing extravagant projects in the United Arab Emirates from his office in Dubai. How many of these dreams will actually be built depends on factors beyond any architect's control. But you can't blame a guy for dreaming, can you?

Ashai Towers, Jumireh Village, Dubai

This YouTube video (one of several available) shows something of Ashai's energy and visionary mindset.

I can't say I love the house on Anzio Road, especially with those dinky ridge-toppers right behind peering down on it. But, from what I know now of Tony Ashai, I do admire the man.


  1. Love Spanish architecture but this guy's work look more like the tacky, plasticky Olive Garden restaurants. Besides, he seems to use the cheap plans sold online with minor alterations.

  2. God has given Mr. Ashai a gift. I truly love his work and pray one day I ca afford to buy one of his beautiful master pieces in Palos Verdes Estates. May God continue to Bless him!

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