Volume 18 • Issue 52 | May 12 - 18, 2006

Maya Lin speaks on her Chinatown museum project

Famed architect Maya Lin said her design for the Museum of Chinese in the Americas new location will expose more of a century-old building in Chinatown while adding modern elements to the structure at 150 Lafayette St.

“We will be deliberately taking down certain parts of the building, exposing the old, but also slipping in a very modern skin as well,” Lin said in a Channel 13 interview with “New York Voices” that premieres Friday night. “We are going to be stripping it bare to the absolute, so you begin to see the old building itself, the old structure, which probably is 100 years old. On top of that, we will be exposing all the stonework in the basement as you come up in that courtyard – which again talks about the history, almost the bones of the architecture of the space.”

The museum will keep its 70 Mulberry St. location for a library and archive storage and will be moving into a space five times larger, at the site of a former industrial machine repair shop at Lafayette and Centre Sts.

Lin is most famous for designing the Vietnam War veterans memorial in Washington D.C. and also served on the jury that selected the design for the World Trade Center memorial.

She said the museum project is particularly meaningful to her as a Chinese American.

“Americans in general as well as Chinese Americans really [need to] realize how long the legacy of Chinese Americans has been in this country,” Lin said. “And, how they have literally been in some respects, one can say, the slaves of the West — building the railroads…The amount of pain and really horrible racism that they went through. I think just people being aware that we have been here and really contributed and can be as American as anyone else.”

The show will air Fri., May 12 at 9 p.m. and Sat. May 13 at 1:30 p.m. It

will also include a segment on the late Jane Jacobs in which her editor, Jim Epstein, takes a walk along Broome St. and discusses what the street would have looked like had Jacobs not been able to block the proposed Lower Manhattan Expressway.


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