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News > Committee News > Chinatown Friendship Gate (ASIAN ARCHITECTS / DESIGNERS / ARTISTS OF PHILLY)

Chinatown Friendship Gate (ASIAN ARCHITECTS / DESIGNERS / ARTISTS OF PHILLY)

Chinatown Friendship Gate (ASIAN ARCHITECTS / DESIGNERS / ARTISTS OF PHILLY)
Photo Alec Rogers © 2015 for the Association for Public Art
Photo Alec Rogers © 2015 for the Association for Public Art

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Urban Design

By Leslie Louie

This story is part of a series featuring Asian Architects / Designers / Artists of Philly. We will be highlighting incredible murals that are a part of Mural Arts Philadelphia, urban street art that is part of Philadelphia Museum of Art's collection or other collections, urban spaces that embody Asian culture, and buildings designed by some of the most renowned architects from around the world. We will be featuring short blog posts written by members of Urban Design Committee, as well as guest posts by Committee on the Environment, Environmental Justice subcommittee and others. Stay tuned for more!

The Chinatown Friendship Gate is the symbolic entrance to Philadelphia's Chinatown. It was built in 1984 as a commemoration of the friendship between Philadelphia and Tianjin, Chinatown's sister city. The design was overseen by Sabrina Soong, a local Chinese-American architect. The city of Tianjin provided tiles for the structure, and a team of Chinese engineers and artisans also built pieces of the arch. The colors of the gate – red, yellow, blue, and green – would have been used for structures in imperial China. The arch is decorated with dragon motifs and small sculptures of animals. The stone bases are engraved with floral patterns. The gate is built in the traditional Chinese architectural style of the Qing dynasty (1644-1912), and it is the first authentic Chinese arch built in America by Chinese artisans. The gate is meant to be a tribute to the cultural and economic contributions of Philadelphia's Chinese community. The large Chinese characters on the gate state “Philadelphia Chinatown”

 

Sources:

https://www.associationforpublicart.org/artwork/the-china-gate/

https://philadelphiaencyclopedia.org/artifacts/artifact-chinatown-friendship-gate/

http://www.philadelphiahistory.org/objects/chinatown-friendship-arch/

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