AKA: East Kong Yick Building, Wing Luke Asian Museum, Building #3, International District, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - social and civic buildings - community centers

Designers: Coughlin Porter Lundeen (CPL), Engineers (firm); Leavengood Architects, Incorporated, PS (firm); Marpac Construction Company (firm); Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen (OSKA) (firm); James Coughlin (engineer); Thomas Walter Kundig (architect); David Leavengood (architect); Terry R. Lundeen (civil engineer); James W.P. Olson (architect); Steven Porter (engineer); Richard Paul Sundberg (architect); Charles Lawton Thompson (architect); Charles Bennett Thompson Sr. (architect)

Dates: constructed 1910

4 stories, total floor area: 72,820 sq. ft.

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719 South King Street
International District, Seattle, WA 98104

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The East Kong Yick Building stood on the southwest corner of 8th Avenue South and South King Street and occupied the street numbers 711-725 South King Street and 501-517 8th Avenue South.

Building History

In 1910, approximately 170 recent Asian-American immigrants pooled their resources to erect a community center and apartments for themselves in the East Kong Yick Building. As illustrated in a Baist Real Estate Map of 1912, the East and West Kong Yick Building are noted as "Chinese Quarters." A building on the northeast corner of 8th Avenue South and South King Street was also given the same title. These properties clearly had Asian-American tenants and were distinguished from the many single-room occupancy hotels scattered nearby. The area was filled with affordable housing catering to an influx of working class Anglo-Americans as well as a range of other ethnicities.

The Wing Luke Museum has had three homes: the first in a small storefront on 8th Avenue South (1967-1986), next in a larger space on 7th Avenue South (1987-2004), and, finally, space in the East Kong Yick Building from 2005-present. In 2005, the Wing Luke Pan-Asian-American Museum obtained 57,000 square feet of space in the former Wah Young Company Grocery Store building.

In 01/2004, the Wing Luke Museum received a grant from The Cultural Development Authority of King County. The Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce reported on 01/07/2004: "Wing Luke Asian Museum will receive $140,000 for acquisition and renovation of the Kong Yick Building in the International District, which will become the museum's new home in 2007." (See Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce.com "Architecture & Engineering: Cultural projects awarded $926,000," published 01/07/2004, accessed 05/22/2023.)

The pre-2005 museum space at 413 7th Avenue South occupied only 10,000 square feet. After about three years of renovation, the Wing Luke Museum opened in the East Kong Yick Building of in 05/2008.

Building Notes

According to Amy Chinn, Marketing Director of the Wing Luke Museum in 2012: "'When this was an immigrant hotel, there were retail shops on the first floor, the manager's office on the second and hotel rooms on the third. It really was kind of a community of single men at the time [1910], since men came over [from China] to work. So the hotel rooms are preserved with some of the furniture and clothing and photos.'" (See Janelle Wetzstein, "The Atypical Wing Luke Museum Shares Immigrant Community's History," City Living Seattle, 01/18/2012, p. 7.)


Seattle architect Rick Sundberg (born 1942) of Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen (OSKA) led a renovation effort of the second Wing Luke Museum space in the former East Kong Yick Building. He toured the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in New York, NY, and this trip underscored to him the importance of preserving as much of the historic fabric of the building as possible. A large portion of the second floor was removed but Sundberg emphasized that its raw materials be reused elsewhere in the building. Floorboards, for example, were re-purposed as stair treads. As part of the renovation, OSKA added the 60-seat Tateuchi Theatre, multiple exhibition spaces, an 1,800-square-foot assembly hall, and the Yick Fung Grocery Store, which was formerly located down the street and closed in 2008. Following closure, this grocery donated its remaining inventory to the museum. The renovation cost $12.1 million; artworks included "Letter Cloud," a sculpture hung from the ceiling by Erin Shie Palmer and Susie Kozawa and a steel canopy by Gerry Tsutakawa (born 1947). The OSKA team included: Stephen Yamada-Heidner, Martha Rogers, John Kenndy, Misun Chung Gerrick, and Debbie Kennedy; the Engineer was Coughlin Porter Lundeen; Building Contractor: Marpac; Preservation Consultant: Leavengood Architects.