Gin Wong, Who Designed Futuristic Buildings in Los Angeles, Dies at 94 – New York Times

Gin Wong, a Chinese language-born architect whose modernist designs helped outline the postwar panorama of Los Angeles in buildings as numerous as a fuel station, CBS Tv Metropolis and Los Angeles Worldwide Airport, died on Sept. in Beverly Hills. He was 94.

His demise was confirmed by his daughter Janna Wong Healy.

Architects historically obtain renown with company headquarters, non-public residences, museums, live performance halls and stadiums. And whereas Mr. Wong labored on many typical tasks, his 1960 design of a Union 76 gas station in Beverly Hills is one in all his most beloved and enduring. With its crimson swooping cover angling towards the sky, it wed an area-age look to the mundane activity of filling up in a metropolis dedicated to automotive tradition.

“This was at all times designed as a easy construction, to symbolize on a regular basis life,” Mr. Wong told Los Angeles magazine in 2015.

The station, which was initially to be inside an airport, turned a landmark that the Los Angeles Conservancy referred to as “one of many highest examples of Googie structure in the world.” (Googie refers to ultramodern, futuristic design.)

Mr. Wong designed the fuel station whereas working for his former instructor and mentor, William L. Pereira, across the time that he was additionally credited with creating the startling, spider-like Theme Building at the Los Angeles airport.

Writing in The Los Angeles Times in 2010, Bob Pool called the building “half spaceship, half flying saucer” and mentioned that Mr. Wong “got down to create a futuristic constructing that will each replicate its relationship with aviation and stand the take a look at of time.”

All through his profession, Mr. Wong was professionally linked to the sprawling airport. A part of the attract of serving to to bodily rework it to accommodate the jet age was that Mr. Wong had been a B-29 navigator in the Pacific throughout World Warfare II, primarily based on the island of Tinian.

He turned the airport’s director of design improvement for a three way partnership of architects in the 1950s, and three many years later, his agency supervised a redesign. He developed its satellite tv for pc terminal system and its two-degree roadway.

Gin Dan Wong was born on Sept. 17, 1922, in Guangzhou, China, and moved to Los Angeles with an aunt at age 9. He was later joined by his mom, Ng Pui King, and his sister, Wong Kam Chung. His father died earlier than Mr. Wong immigrated to the US. As a teenager, he excelled in arithmetic, science and drawing; he as soon as mentioned he discovered it simpler to attract a phrase than spell it.

He studied engineering at Los Angeles Metropolis Faculty earlier than serving in the Military Air Corps. Whereas there, a platoon member whose father was an architect observed Mr. Wong’s expertise in math and artwork (he drew posters there) and prompt that he research structure.

Years later, he acknowledged how useful being a navigator had been to his work as an architect.

“I needed to discover ways to get from right here to there,” he informed The Los Angeles Times in 1974. “I needed to understand how a lot gas can be wanted and the way lengthy the journey would take. The massive message was to attenuate the chances to outlive.”

After the conflict, he studied at the College of Illinois and graduated from the College of Southern California’s Faculty of Structure earlier than working for Mr. Pereira at two companies, Pereira & Luckman and William L. Pereira & Associates. He rapidly turned indispensable and had a principal function in creating CBS Tv Metropolis, which opened in 1952.

A easy, massive and sensible design constructed in the early days of the medium, Tv Metropolis housed studios, workplaces, a carpenter’s store for constructing units and areas to make props and repair cameras, and featured exterior partitions that might be eliminated for future growth. It was the topic of a segment of “See It Now,” a CBS Information program hosted by Edward R. Murrow.

“He had a really refined sense of favor in phrases of his design aesthetic and, when you look at what he did, pre-1970s, he had a transparent eye for what he wished to see,” mentioned Trudi Sandmeier, the director of graduate packages in heritage conservation at the united statesC. Faculty of Structure. “The fuel station was elegant and delightful and that was his hallmark. And performance was the first driver of Tv Metropolis, with its clear strains, not loads of fuss, and a approach of uniting a campus for a function that was coming of age.”

Mr. Wong ultimately turned president of the second Pereira agency earlier than opening Gin Wong Associates in 1973. He shuttered it two years in the past upon his retirement.

Amongst his many different works have been industrial buildings in Singapore and Honolulu; a financial savings and mortgage department in Rancho Mirage, Calif., with curved partitions fabricated from Mexican black lava rock; motels, eating places and homes; a library in South Korea; and the Midnight Mission for the homeless in downtown Los Angeles that featured landscaping with golden-leaved honey locust bushes that shimmered in the breeze.

Whereas working Mr. Pereira’s firm in the late 1960s, Mr. Wong oversaw the design of the Transamerica Pyramid, the putting 853-foot-tall constructing that pierces the sky in San Francisco.

Mr. Wong mentioned that Jack Beckett, the chairman of Transamerica, gave him easy route. “His first assertion was, ‘I wish to be sure that all people in the monetary world is aware of who we're,’” Mr. Wong recalled in a video made by Neil Healy, his son-in-law. Most of the people, he added, understood that the constructing was making an announcement.

Along with his daughter, Mr. Wong is survived by his spouse, the previous Louise Yvonne Tom; two different daughters, Terrina Wong and Kimberlee Durst; and 4 grandchildren.

Mr. Wong mentioned the teachings from being a B-29 navigator that he utilized to structure gave him peace.

“I used to be by no means actually near individuals in the sense that I may open my coronary heart and spill out all my issues,” he informed The Los Angeles Times in 1974. “So I discovered a tranquillity inside myself. I plan forward and subsequently I seldom have something to fret about.”

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Gin Wong, Who Designed Futuristic Buildings in Los Angeles, Dies at 94 - New York Times