In case you were left unaware, the month of May has been Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. It’s a month where we not only get to acknowledge but celebrate the countless contributions made by the community. The United States recognizes these contributions and heavy influence to the history, culture, and various achievements of the U.S.
It’s important to acknowledge and celebrate the many contributions of Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders because unfortunately, marginalized groups oftentimes go unnoticed in their successes.
As we progress as a society, it’s important to do what we can on an individual level to ensure inclusivity throughout not only our workplaces, but schools, communities, and personal lives.
That said, let’s get into it!
Here are some Asian-American & Pacific Islander designers and architects you should most definitely be familiar with:
Helen Liu Fong (1927 - 2005)
Born in Los Angeles, Fong was one of the very first women to join the American Institute of Architects. After studying at the University of California, Berkeley, she soon commenced a successful career as an architect for Armet & Davis. She quickly became known for her googie-style of architecture, a well-known approach in postwar America.
Her various quirky arrangements gave way to a new era of boomerang angles, dynamic forms, and neon lights (FineGold Alexander Architects). Fong is most known for conceptualizing and designing the Holiday Bowl bowling alley in Los Angeles.
Kenneth Cobunpue – Philippines
Most well-known for his indoor and outdoor pieces as well as lighting and accessories, Cobunpue’s multi-awarded work has been spotted on Oceans 13 and CSI. He is from Cebu in the Philippines, and successfully graduated from the Pratt Institute in New York.
Cobunpue’s work is captivating in that he specializes in incorporating locally sourced materials, in addition to executing a distinctive production process by hand (BudgetReno). His work can be found in the homes of Brad Pitt and various Royal Family members.
Group DCA & DCA Architects – New Delhi, India
Primarily designers and architects for commercial spaces, Group DCA & DCA Architects harvest their creative aspirations into design solutions for their clients. Founded in 1996, their work noticeably includes a lot of foliage, which we love to see considering the efficiency-promoting benefits it provides.
According to their website, the designers harvest the natural inspiration from air, light, and greens. Group DCA emphasizes the means of easing communication between employees, intentionally making their spaces naturally sociable and interactive.
A Korean-American designer, architect, and educator, Meejin Yoon is undoubtedly one of the most notable individuals highlighted here. Her work includes the White Noise White Light for the 2004 Athens Olympics; the Sean Collier Memorial at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and the Double Horizon for the GSA at the San Ysidro Border Crossing.
A few of Yoon’s work has been done alongside her business partner Eric Höwler, who she founded Höwler+Yoon Architecture with in 2004. Most notably, however, in 2014, Yoon was nominated to be the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s first female head of the Department of Architecture. In 2018, Yoon was appointed as the Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning at Cornell University.
Her work is considered to be a figure in pioneering a realm of design that centers its focus heavily upon intertwining technology and the public atmosphere.