Gin D. Wong

Gin D. Wong (1922–2017)

The Chinese American architect Gin D. Wong died on September 1, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times. A statement issued by USC, where he served on the board of trustees for more than thirty years, confirmed his passing.

Born in Guangzhou, China, Wong moved to Los Angeles with his family when he was a child. After graduating from John H. Francis Polytechnic High School in Sun Valley, he served in the Army Air Corps during World War II and participated in major air battles over Japan in 1945 as a lead crew navigator and radar bombardier. After the war, he enrolled at USC, where he studied under the architect William L. Pereira. Wong later helped Pereira found William L. Pereira & Associates, the firm responsible for the 1961 master plan for USC’s University Park Campus and the university’s Olin Hall of Engineering and Stauffer Hall of Science.

One of Wong’s first major projects after earning his degree in architecture from USC in 1950 was the Union 76 gas station in Beverly Hills, considered an iconic example of midcentury modern design. The Los Angeles Conservancy deemed it to be “recognized everywhere as one of the highest examples of Googie architecture in the world.” The design for the gas station was originally intended for Los Angeles International Airport, for which he served as the design director when LAX was converted to use by jets in the 1950s. Years later, Wong also designed the airport’s two-level roadway as part of a major expansion that included upgrades to all terminals. Wong founded his own company, Gin Wong Associates, in 1973, and his other projects included the CBS Television City complex in the Fairfax district; high-rises such as the USC Tower at South Park Center (formerly the AT&T Center); the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and the thirty-three-story downtown building formerly known as the Arco Tower.

Recent projects directed by Wong include Korean Air’s Hyatt Hotel in Seoul and a university research library for Inha University in Incheon, South Korea.