MOCATALKS: Rediscovering the Architecture of Poy Gum Lee

Thu, Oct 8, 2015 @ 6:30pm - 8:30pm


Tickets (includes museum admission): $12/adult; $7/student & senior; FREE for MOCA members

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It’s hard to miss the On Leong Tong Chinese Merchants building on the corner of Mott and Canal Streets. With its pagoda façade and ornamented balconies, this iconic building designed by Chinese American architect Poy Gum Lee reveals the distinct hybrid modern architectural style often referred to as “Chinese modern.” Through Poy Gum Lee’s body of work in Chinatown and in China, guest curator of Chinese Style: Rediscovering the Architecture of Poy Gum Lee, 1923-1968, Kerri Culhane illuminates Lee’s influence on the architectural aesthetics in Chinatown, the cultural and political impulses behind this architecture style, and the role of the built environment as an expression of identity.


Kerri Culhane spent the last 15 years focusing on documenting the historic immigrant neighborhoods of Manhattan's Lower East Side, including Two Bridges, Chinatown, Little Italy, and The Bowery. Kerri holds a Master in Architectural History and Historic Preservation from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a Master of Science in Ecological Planning and Design from the Conway School in Massachusetts. She is currently the Associate Director of Two Bridges Neighborhood Council on Manhattan's Lower East Side.

Image credit: Poy Gum Lee, On Leong Tong, 83-85 Mott Street. Presentation Drawing., 1948, Ink and watercolor on paper, Courtesy of the Poy Gum Lee Archive.