Call for Proposals: SAH-CHSDM Virtual Roundtable Series on Asian American Architects and Designers

Sep 16, 2021 by SAH News

Call for Proposals: For authors to contribute to a Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum (CHSDM) study to identify architects and designers of Asian ancestry in the United States. The deadline for proposals has been extended to November 15, 2021, at 11:59 pm EDT. 

For more information and to submit proposals, consult the following link.

Call for Proposals

The SAH Asian American & Diasporic Architectural History Affiliate Group seeks proposals from architectural and design historians to participate in an online roundtable in February 2022, and to produce topical, state-of-the-field papers on specific aspects of collecting the work of Asian American architects and designers by June 2022. These funded presentations and papers will contribute to a recent initiative, “In Search of Asian American/Pacific Islander Architects and Designers,” launched in 2021 by Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum (CHSDM). As the only museum in the United States dedicated to historical and contemporary design, Cooper Hewitt and its collection play a pivotal role in fostering scholarship and advancing discourse that illuminates the importance of design both historically and in the present day.

With Federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, “In Search of Asian American/Pacific Islander Architects and Designers” aims to accelerate the collecting of work by architects and designers of Asian ancestry who helped shape the urban and visual landscape of the United States (1900­–present), as part of the museum’s larger commitment to a more inclusive vision of the collection and the stories that surround it—one that includes and appropriately represents the voices and creative visions of women, LGBTQ+, Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). A necessary first step for CHSDM to begin documenting the essential contributions of AAPI architects and designers to the built environment in the US is to generate a state-of-the field report that will function as a roadmap for future areas of research, collection building, and public programming.

In their capacity as the primary co-authors of the report, Gail Dubrow, Sean McPherson and Lynne Horiuchi are organizing three SAH-CHSDM virtual workshops, the first of which will be offered in February 2022, to identify further contributors to fill and bridge the gaps in our knowledge of Asian American architectural and design history. In view of the editors’ collective strength in Japanese American material, we have a strong need for additional expertise on US architects and designers of Chinese, Korean, South and Southeast Asian descent. We are particularly interested in proposals that identify relevant individuals, organizations, firms and elements of the built environment associated with midcentury modernism, vernacular commercial and residential cultural landscapes, and other intersectional topics. Because the museum highlights individual objects and groups of works that reveal the design process from conception to implementation, the work of interior and industrial designers, multi-media artists and jewelry makers may be relevant, particularly if the creator also worked on projects at an architectural scale.

Participants will discuss preliminary findings in a February 2022 SAH CONNECTS workshop that will outline key areas of collecting the papers, material culture, and associated artifacts of Asian American designers and architects. After discussing their preliminary findings in the February 2022 SAH CONNECTS roundtable, scholars will work with Drs. Lynne Horiuchi and Sean McPherson to develop their presentations into a 20-page paper for inclusion in Cooper Hewitt’s state-of-the-field report, which will inform the museum’s future acquisitions and programming. 

Proposals of 500 words that address the work of specific Asian diasporic ethnic groups, as well as more thematic topics such as the impact of Asian Americans on transnational mid-century modernism, interior design, and vernacular landscapes are welcomed. We seek to bring up to five scholars or teams who will commit to meeting regularly before and after the February SAH CONNECTS workshop. Proposals and CVs should be submitted by November 15 to the SAH submission portal.

We welcome consultation at any stage of preparing proposals, and will operate as a mentored writing group, from selection of team members through the process of completing the manuscript. Authors will retain the right to use their own work in other venues, but CHSDM shall retain the right to use the material for its own purposes.  Questions regarding proposals should be directed to and

Participants will earn honoraria of $1,000 for their research, with $500 payable after participation in the February 2022 roundtable, and the balance payable upon submission of final papers by June 15, 2022.

Gail Dubrow & Sean McPherson
Co-Chairs, SAH Asian American & Diasporic Architectural History Affiliate Group

For more information and to submit proposals, consult the following link.