SAH Archipedia Highlights: Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

by Catherine Boland Erkkila, BUS/SAH Archipedia Managing Editor | May 04, 2021

In recognition of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we are featuring a selection of AAPI sites in SAH Archipedia. Visit the website’s main page to see additional featured content, which is updated monthly.

1_Chinatown_Photograph by Christian Mehlfuhrer, CC BY SA-3.0


Photograph by Christian Mehlfuhrer, CC BY SA-3.0

As early as 1855, Chinese migrants were living in the section of San Francisco that became known as Chinatown, formed as a relatively safe enclave from racially motivated violence. Today, the neighborhood is one of the densest urban areas in the country.

2_Cao Dai Temple_Photograph by Janet Hoskins

Cao Dai California Temple

Photograph by Janet Hoskins

The Cao Dai California Temple (2007–2008) in Garden Grove, California, was built by the Orange County congregation of Caodaists, which numbers about 25,000 people, and it is one of only four in the United States to be purposefully built following the sacred architectural blueprint of the Mother Church in Tay Ninh, Vietnam.

3_Rohwer Relocation Center_Photograph by John Greer

Rohwer Relocation Center

Photograph by John Greer

The Rohwer Relocation Center cemetery is evidence of a major historical event with little remaining to remind Americans of one of the most shameful periods in the history of the United States. The center was one of ten World War II internment centers for Japanese Americans and Japanese immigrants in the United States and one of two in Arkansas.

4_Chong Wa Benevolent Association_Photograph by Joe Mabel

Chong Wa Benevolent Association Building

Photograph by Joe Mabel

Designed by Wing Sam Chinn, the first licensed Asian American architect in Washington state, the Chong Wa Benevolent Association Building (1929–1930) weds eastern and western design traditions and was an important center of Chinese American politics, education, and culture in Seattle’s International District.

5_Chinese Joss House Museum_Photograph by Mary M. Humstone

Chinese Joss House Museum

Photograph by Mary M. Humstone

In 1874, Chinese immigrants working for the Union Pacific Railroad built a wooden temple in Evanston, Wyoming. Although the building was destroyed by fire in 1922, after the Union Pacific forced the Chinese to vacate the area, the Evanston community built this replica in 1990. It now serves as a museum that explores the history of the Chinese in southeastern Wyoming.

Founded in 1940, the Society of Architectural Historians is an international nonprofit membership organization that promotes the study, interpretation and conservation of architecture, design, landscapes and urbanism worldwide. SAH serves a network of local, national and international institutions and individuals who, by profession or interest, focus on the built environment and its role in shaping contemporary life. SAH promotes meaningful public engagement with the history of the built environment through advocacy efforts, print and online publications, and local, national and international programs.

SAH thanks The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation
for its operating support.
Society of Architectural Historians
1365 N. Astor Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610