Architect: Clem Lau
Schematic rendering of the residential building that stood here, according to the footprint indicated on the 1911 and 1961 fire insurance maps.
WITH CLEM LAU (ARCHITECT OF TANS PLAZA)
+ When was this new building constructed?
In the late 1980’s
+ Who was your client / who commissioned the new building?
The client was the late Mr. Chun, who was the owner and operator of the building and the BBQ store.
+ What was on this land before this building was built? How was the land acquired?
It was vacant land, owned by an individual. This parcel of land is only 25’ wide by 140’ deep, with access only on the south side on 3rd Avenue.
+ As the architect for this building, tell me a bit about your design decisions for the building. How did you think that the building would express “Chinese character” or fit into Chinatown?
We tried very hard to make the building resemble, even remotely, Chinese character. Difficulty for this building lay in the size of the lot, especially since we had to provide two fire exits for the building. These two exits had to maintain a certain distance between each other.
Then, we wanted to make the building “appear” larger and wider than 25’, which is why it has this L-shaped form. We had to accommodate the waste & recycling storage and disposal within the site as well.
+ Do you have any interesting or funny stories about the building’s design or construction process you’d like to share?
We worked with the Planning Department on the design of the building. We wanted to put some Chinese characters or symbols on the west wall visible from the adjacent parking lot. This was a means to create some Asian look.
However, in doing so, the workers needed permission to work on the west face of the building by “trespassing” onto the neighbor’s land. The neighboring property refused to grant permission. The City Planner even called him on our behalf. He still refused.
So the symbols were not put on that wall – but in order locations instead. The locations of them are still quite defined.
CURRENT DAY BUILDING PHOTOGRAPHS
Photographs taken in 2020.