Gateway to Chinatown

cultural / urban design


The Canal Street Triangle Gateway aims to bring a renewed sense of pride in this vibrant and storied neighborhood, simultaneously enhancing connectivity to surrounding neighborhoods and celebrating the unique cultural identity that sets Chinatown apart. At once a cultural icon and a functional community nexus, it also aims to become an economic stimulus safe-guarding the long-term prosperity of this city-within-a-city.

Like the many mythical animals enriching Chinese culture, The Dragon Gate at the Canal Street Triangle is a chimera: A gateway, a bridge, a totem and forum. Monolithic and permeable. Rooted in tradition and forward-looking. A place to come to and pass through. A place to enlighten and show the way.

Prominent visual cues from the surrounding gateways sites were incorporated into the design of the gateway: The central archway of the Manhattan Bridge Landing and Colonnade, the low-slung segmental arch and truss-like structure from Pearl-Street-under-Brooklyn-Bridge, and the curved planter edges from Kimlau Square. The cantilevered arches become a vertical expression of the curving colonnades flanking the Manhattan Bridge Landing archway. The dragon itself recalls the golden dragon currently presiding over the Canal Street Triangle.

The rising curves of the two truncated archways mirror the elegant upturned eaves of traditional Chinese roofs. The monolithic form penetrated by archways recalls the ancient fortified city walls found throughout China. The trussed framework echoes the bamboo scaffolding sometimes used in China for contemporary high-rise construction.The Dragon Gate will become a prominently visible, yet permeable, orientation point.

Location: Baxter St & Canal St, New York, NY 10013


Size: SF

Team: Eran Chen, Heidi Theunissen, Brian Lee, Sonia Turk, Nai Wong