Second Home: Reimagining Chinatown
The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture
A Second Home investigates the meaning of Chinatowns for the Chinese diaspora and seeks to expand the typology by hybridizing traditional and modern aspects to create a uniquely Chinese American design. Austin’s Chinatown Center was selected as the site for extension and renovation, with conceptual ambitions that included improving quality of life for the elderly demographic, enabling immigrants and new arrivals, building common ground between groups within the diaspora, and creating a safe space for Asian Americans. This urban and architectural design intervention focused on preserving and reinforcing cultural identity to foster positive placemaking, which was achieved through design moves like central placement of senior housing, increasing walkability and accessibility of site, layering suburban and urban textures, and positioning businesses on site to enable activity at all hours in all areas.
“It’s a project that highlights the potential of something, that Chinatown isn’t a tourist destination or isn’t just something that gives the impression or appearance of a place of identity, but really speaks about Chinatown as a place that creates community, supports community, and also supports the weakest in the community by adding programs that go way beyond what you would normally expect when you hear Chinatown, into something that represents the needs of all parts of the community.”