Born in Guangdong, China, Eugene Kinn Choy immigrated with his parents to the United States in 1898. They settled in Bakersfield, where the family made a living selling blue jeans to the farm hands working the fields of California’s Central Valley. He enrolled in the University of Southern California School of Architecture, following in the path of Gilbert Leong. He was politically active on campus, serving in the Architecture School Student Senate and Alpha Lambda, a Chinese American student group.After graduation in 1939, he put his career ambitions on hold due to World War II; he went to work for Hughes Aircraft until the war was over. Resuming his architectural career, he became the first Chinese American in California to join the AIA; second only to New York-based I.M. Pei. He launched his own architectural practice with a small staff; designing a wide range of projects. He collaborated with his younger brother, Allan Kinn Choy, also a practicing architect, on several projects, including the FBI Office Building in Las Vegas,
Choy built his personal residence in the Silver Lake community of Los Angeles at 3027 Castle Street in the Primrose Hill section. He apparently loved the area so much that he built many homes and some apartments in Silver Lake as well; look for others in the ‘Choy Associates’ set of photographs and accompanying stories on my flickr page!
The two bedroom, two bath house in 1127 sq. ft. that Choy designed at 3200 Windsor Avenue recently (October 2013) came on the market listed for sale at $875,000, giving me a rare opportunity to explore the interior. Although ‘updated’ and perhaps a bit overstuffed with furniture, most of the iconic mid-century details have been preserved.
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