Breaking Ground with Chinese American Architects

Hosted by

Wong residence

We're midway through the art world marathon that is Pacific Standard Time, with several shows closing and new ones about to open. One of those new shows is called Breaking Ground: Chinese American Architects in Los Angeles 1945-1980 and it opens this week at the Chinese American Museum. As with most of the PST shows, it offers up a new look at a time that in some ways feels like yesterday and in other ways so long ago. During this period China was not the building mecca it is now, and Asian designers were not a significant part of the mix at local design schools and offices, but rather were a minority, and treated as such. Breaking Ground shows off the postwar work of four Chinese-American architects, Eugene Choy, Gilbert Leong, Helen Liu Fong and Gin Wong. Frances visits the show with the show's curator, Steve Wong, and architect Barton Choy, Eugene Choy's son.

First Bank

Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association by Eugene Choy and Kong Chow Benevolent Association by Gilbert Leong, Photograph by Dan Kaufman / Studio Kaufman

Cathay Bank

Cathay Bank by Eugene Choy, Photograph by Dan Kaufman / Studio Kaufman


Black and white evening shot of Norms Restaurant, Courtesy of Jack Laxer/Armet Davis Newlove Architects. © Jack Laxer Photographer, Pacific Palisades, CA

Choy and Wong

Architect Barton Choy and curator Steve Wong, at the show

Top image: Choy Residence: © J. Paul Getty Trust. Used with permission. Julius Shulman Photography Archive, Research Library at the Getty Research Institute (2004.R.10)