About Work

The Golden Tower of Ascension Away from Worldly Cares and Towards an Enlightenment of Everything All Around.


Gateways To Chinatown
New York, NY

Program: Lookout Tower
Client: NYCDOT, Chinatown Partnership, Van Alen Institute
Team: Zander Chanin, Ashely Kuo, Jessica Kwok, Cass Nakashima, Oana Stanescu, Jesse Taylor, Dong-Ping Wong
Status: Competition
Year: 2017

The site at Canal and Baxter is not only at the heart of Chinatown, it also sits at the center of New York City - physically, culturally and psychologically.

It is a site surrounded by all the things that define New York City: multi-generational ethnic communities, food, shopping, tourism, art, trash, fashion, high-rise glass and steel towers, paintpeeling walk-ups, central seats of government, underground clubs, cheap knock-offs and priceless one-offs, $1 milk tea and $6 milk tea.

The Golden Tower of Ascension Away from Worldly Cares and Towards an Enlightenment of Everything All Around is both an icon marking this incredibly charged site and a viewing tower to see and better understand all of the things that make the neighborhood (and
the city) incredible.

The uniqueness of Chinatown lies in large part to its insularity. Urbanisitcally, it’s winding streets and corners allow for discovery and concealment and the community’s powerful resistance to development has kept Chinatown thoroughly Chinese.

But the same insularity also results in over 70% of the elderly Chinese with poor English-language proficiency, almost 50% of the children living in homes under the poverty line, and nearly 25% of school kids never graduating from school.

Organizations such as Apex for Youth and the Museum of Chinese in America’s are shedding light on not only the wonderful things about the neighborhood, but also the very real problems that are too often hidden from view. Most visitors to Chinatown, even those that live and work nearby, have very little sense or understanding of Chinatown and how it relates to the context that surrounds it, from the continual march of new development down the Bowery from the North to the high-end neighborhoods of Tribeca and Soho to the west to hub of governance and justice at City Hall to the south.

The Golden Tower is a nod to the historic culture that is at the foundation of Chinatown while looking beyond and forward to the future of Chinatown and its role in an every changing city and country.

The Golden Tower is a way for everybody to gain a new view - and a new understanding - of Chinatown and everything that surrounds it.