Design and selected fabrication
Completed 2009

MoCA has expanded into a new facility designed by Maya Lin, increasing the Museum’s exhibition space ten-fold. The core exhibition was developed to narrate the rich and complex history of Chinese Americans since the founding of this country.

The permanent galleries encircle a skylit atrium, suggestive of the central court in a traditional Chinese house. MATTER extended the schematic of this domestic metaphor, organizing the exhibition’s content into a chronological journey through a series of intimate ‘rooms’ or time spaces. Portals from each room open onto the central court and contain media portraits of individuals narrating their experience as Chinese immigrants and the journey of becoming American. Illuminated portraits of noted Chinese-Americans are displayed on the adjacent walls while opposite, a display chronicles the historical interrelation of China and the United States, which deeply impacted the individual experiences documented within.

In keeping with the project’s LEED ambitions, Matter developed the architectural finishes and details for the permanent galleries, casework, lighting, and digital output strategies with a rigorous eye on sustainable practice.


Matter project team
Sandra Wheeler, project director
Parker B Lee, Elizabeth Beecherl, Christopher Malloy, Ken Kinoshita, Christine Chang, Alfred Zollinger

Exhibition Graphics design
mgmt. design

Lighting design
Marcus Doshi Lighting Design

Jack Tchen, Cynthia Lee, Ting-Chi Wang (assistant)