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MOCA
Rendering: Courtesy of Museum of Chinese in America

See the new Museum of Chinese in America set to open in 2025

The updated space will more than quintuple its current footprint.

Anna Rahmanan
Written by
Anna Rahmanan
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Following much-chronicled struggles surrounding the re-design of its headquarters on Centre Street in downtown Manhattan, the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) has finally unveiled new renderings showcasing its architectural plans.

Designed by famous architect Maya Lin, the updated museum will expand its current 12-000-square-feet footprint to nearly 68,000 square feet over a total of nine stories.

According to an official press release, Lin's design was inspired by the tangram, an ancient Chinese mathematical puzzle that translates "to a metal panel facade" that allows for "daylight to strategically enter the exhibition spaces and larger openings to light workspaces and classrooms as well as create views." 

Bloomberg reports that the revamped museum will feature a community space, a center for research and genealogy, a two-story lecture hall, classrooms, a cooking demonstration kitchen, outdoor gathering spaces, a giant atrium, a theater, a canteen and, of course, plenty of exhibition areas that will tell the story of the Chinese immigrants who now call the United States home. Even more specifically, the institution's permanent collection will be set up on the third and fourth floors of the building while the fifth level will be reserved for temporary exhibits.

The actual shows will be designed in collaboration with Lin herself and Ralph Appelbaum Associates, who are responsible for the recent, much-anticipated opening of the Halls of Gems and Minerals at the American Museum of Natural History.

Given the enormous size of the undertaking, it should come as no surprise that the project—expected to be completed by 2025 (the museum will close in 2023 for construction to begin)—will cost a whopping $118 million.

"This is a true passion project for me," said Lin, who also designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C., in an official statement. "As a child of Chinese immigrants, I have throughout my life experienced firsthand anti-Asian discrimination and hostility. I’ve been drawn to MOCA and its critical mission for years, and am incredibly moved to be able to present our design for its new headquarters—a place that will welcome, teach and inspire visitors from around the world."

"Amid national waves of anti-Chinese American ignorance and fraught U.S.-China relations, there has perhaps been no more critical moment in recent memory for MOCA to serve as a hub for this important yet tragically overlooked history of the Chinese diaspora in the United States," said Nancy Yao Maasbach, the museum's president, in an official statement. "The history of discrimination and racism toward Chinese Americans and Asian American Pacific Islanders in the U.S. dates back to the first immigrants from Asia. The space, at long last, will create the nexus between these missing elements in U.S. history and public access at the same time MOCA will celebrate the journeys and successes."

Check out renderings of the new space below:

MOCA
Rendering: Courtesy of Museum of Chinese in America
MOCA
Rendering: Courtesy of Museum of Chinese in America
MOCA
Rendering: Courtesy of Museum of Chinese in America
MOCA
Rendering: Courtesy of Museum of Chinese in America
MOCA
Rendering: Courtesy of Museum of Chinese in America
MOCA
Rendering: Courtesy of Museum of Chinese in America
MOCA
Rendering: Courtesy of Museum of Chinese in America
MOCA
Rendering: Courtesy of Museum of Chinese in America
MOCA
Rendering: Courtesy of Museum of Chinese in America

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