Robert Yang

Robert Yang

Providence, RI, US


Remembering Chinatown

Downtown Providence was once home to a small, yet prominent, Chinatown. In 1914, Chinatown was razed as part of an urban renewal effort rooted in discriminatory immigration policies and racial biases. While this Chinatown’s presence lived on through a revolving network of Chinese restaurants, suburban flight and economic decline forced many of them to close in the 1980s. Most traces of this cultural enclave have disappeared and with them the loss of a communal identity for Chinese Americans in Providence. 

The Art Deco Kresge Building on Westminster Street sits on the former site of one of these bygone restaurants, the Chin Lee Corporation. By converting the abandoned interior of the Kresge into a hub for the Chinese culinary arts, the intervention will demystify the ingredients and techniques used in Chinese cooking, while functioning as a cultural amenity for communities of all backgrounds. The adaptive reuse of the Kresge Building reinstates a place for cultural expression within the urban fabric of Providence that honors the memory of this forgotten Chinatown, while challenging stereotypes and shedding light on the complicated history of Chinese immigration.

Read more

Status: School Project
Location: Providence, RI, US