Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, Chinatown, NYC

Another one from the exhibition, Chinese Style: Rediscovering the Architecture of Poy Gum Lee, 1923-1968, at the Museum of Chinese in America. Definitely worth seeing  and it’s just been extended through March 2016. In the show, Curator Kerri Culhane examines the career of Poy Gum Lee, an architect with a rich body of work in both China and the United States.


Pictured here is the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association in Chinatown, which is actually not a design of Lee’s. While inspired by Poy Gum Lee and Wei Foo Chun, it was designed by Andrew S. Yuen & Associates and constructed in 1959. In the exhibition brochure (PDF), Culhane notes that Lee was definitely responsible for the initial design direction of the Association and it’s unclear why it is attributed to Yuen. The design is undeniably modern with a flat facade of brick columns interspersed with window bays covered in decorative metal screens. There is also a prominent metal railing at the roofline and flags displayed throughout. The base has been modernized over time.

Not a lot is readily available about Yuen’s career and other work. The AIA directory from 1970 lists his office in New Rochelle but no other significant works. Perhaps an exhibition on his work will be forthcoming, but in the meantime we look forward to learning more!

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