SAH-CHSDM Roundtable: Rediscovering Asian American and Pacific Islander Architects and Designers
A collaboration of SAH and Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Friday, March 11, 2022

Chat Transcript
Q&A Report

CH APAC logos

Members of the SAH Asian American & Diasporic Architectural History Affiliate Group have been tapped by Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum (CHSDM) to recommend new acquisitions of the papers and works of architects and designers of Asian ancestry who practiced in the United States. This workshop is the first of three planned roundtables co-sponsored by the SAH affiliate group and Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. It is intended to convene architectural and other design historians to discuss the most promising approaches to accelerating the collection of significant work produced by architects and designers of Asian ancestry in the US.

The team has invited members of our scholarly community to comment on the proposed scope of their work, and to contribute their ideas about the approaches, tools and methods, as well as work in progress that will help to make the recommendations generated from this collaborative study the most accurate and complete one possible, despite remaining gaps in the field. The first half of the session will include brief presentations by each team member that define the scope of their contributions and identify where contributions from a larger pool of advisors is needed. The second half of the session will include comments from invited guests, and the opportunity for attendees to contribute their thoughts about the study. This session is open to anyone interested in the subject of accelerating the collecting of work by BIPOC architects and designers to museums, archives, and special collections. The two SAH workshops that will complete this series will link this initiative to the aspirations of other SAH affiliate groups to increase the coverage of architects and designers from underrepresented groups in the institutions that preserve primary sources essential to our research as architectural historians, and will report and assess the results of this collaborative project on Asian American architects and designers.


Edson G. Cabalfin, an Asian man with short hair, wears a black jacket against a green foliage background

Edson G. Cabalfin, PhD is the inaugural Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the School of Architecture at Tulane University, where he concurrently serves as the Director of the Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship Program and Professor of Practice in Design Thinking. He was the Curator of the Philippine Pavilion at the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale in 2018. He received his PhD in History of Architecture and Urban Development from Cornell University. 


Gail Dubrow, a white woman with shoulder-length hair, faces the camera and wears a patterned scarf, black glasses, and earrings.

Gail Dubrow, PhD, FSAH
is Professor of Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Public Affairs & Planning, and History at the University of Minnesota.  A social historian of the US built environment, Dubrow is active in preserving places significant to the history of marginalized communities. The author of many chapters and articles and two award-winning books, Dubrow’s work has received support from the American Institute of Architects/American Architectural Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Park Service, Woodrow Wilson Foundation, and National Trust for Historic Preservation.


Sujin Eom, an Asian woman with long hair, wear hoop earrings and a pink and black shirt

Sujin Eom, PhD,
 is a scholar of architecture and urbanism whose research focuses on race, migration, and the built environment. Eom holds a PhD in architecture from UC Berkeley, and teaches at Dartmouth College. Eom's interests include colonial architecture and urbanism, migration and diaspora, race and racism, Asian American art and architecture, and postcolonial urban theory. Her first book manuscript situates "Chinatown" as an imaginative and material space within the transpacific history of empire and violence. 


Lynne Horiuchi, an Asian woman with short white hair, wears glasses

Lynne Horiuchi, PhD, FSAH is an independent scholar who has published widely and co-authored the books Architectures of Confinement: Incarceration Camps of the Pacific War with Anoma Pieris, and Urban Reinventions: San Francisco’s Treasure Island, with Tanu Sankalia. She is completing a volume, Dislocations and Relocations: Building Prison Cities for Japanese and Japanese Americans During World War II. She is the recipient of major NEH awards and was named an NEA MacDowell Fellow. An SAH Fellow, she also serves as SAH Secretary, Co-Chair of the SAH Minority Scholars Affiliate Group, and on the SAH IDEAS and Strategic Plan Committees.


Priya Jain, an Indian woman with long dark har, looks at the camera

Priya Jain, MArch, RA, 
is a licensed architect, assistant professor in the Department of Architecture and Associate Director of the Center for Heritage Conservation at Texas A&M University. She has worked on historic buildings in the US and India, and studies twentieth-century architecture within a transnational context. Her work has been published in the Journal of Architectural Education (JAE) amongst other venues. Jain serves on the Heritage Conservation Committee of the Society of Architectural Historians and is field editor (architecture) for the Getty Conservation Institute.


Sean McPherson, a bald Asian man with glasses, wears a black shirt and smiles

Sean H. McPherson, PhD 
is Associate Professor of Art History in the Department of Art & Art History at Bridgewater State University. McPherson received his MArch and PhD from UC Berkeley; his areas of research include the art and architecture of Japanese Shintō shrine festivals, and the built environments of Japanese American Buddhism. He is the founding co-chair of the SAH Asian American & Diasporic Architectural History Affiliate Group, and a member of the SAH IDEAS Committee.


Hongyan Yang, an Asian woman with long hair, wears a black turtleneck with gold buttons

Hongyan Yang, PhD 
received her PhD in architecture from the University of Milwaukee-Milwaukee. Trained as a planner, cultural geographer, and architectural historian, her interdisciplinary research focuses on how Asian immigrants’ cultural traditions invest new meanings to the built environment in the United States. Her recent work is featured in American Chinese Restaurants (2020) and Routledge Handbook of Food in Asia (2019). She has also developed community-centered teaching on the history of Asian and Asian American architecture.


Yao-Fen You, an Asian woman with shoulder-length hair, wears clear glasses and a green shirt

Yao-Fen You, PhD
is Senior Curator and Head of Product Design and Decorative Arts at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, where she launched “In Search of Asian American/Pacific Islander Architects and Designers” in partnership with SAH’s Asian American and Diasporic Architectural History Affiliate Group. She currently oversees the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center as the Acting Director. She earned her PhD from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and her BA from the University of California, Berkeley.  


 NEH seal
SAH CONNECTS has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.