Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Schwegmann Brothers' Stores

As today's news reports on the planned rehabilitation of the former Schwegmann Brothers Giant Supermarket at Broad and Bienville Streets, we focus on the building's designer, Edward Mung-Yok Tsoi (1916-2005).

Tsoi studied civil engineering at St. John’s University in Shanghai, China before receiving his undergraduate and graduate degrees in architecture from the University of Michigan (B.S. 1938; M.S. 1939).  He began his career as a draftsman: first, in the offices of Garry & Sheffey (Bluefield, West Virgina); then for Max J. Heinberg (Alexandria, Louisiana); and for A. Hays Town (Baton Rouge, Louisiana). As the United States became increasingly involved in World War II, Tsoi obtained engineering jobs, first for the U.S. Engineers at Harding Field (Baton Rouge); then for the Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation (New Orleans, Louisiana). After the war, he worked for New Orleans architect William R. Burk, first as a draftsman, then as an architect and engineer.

By 1952, Tsoi established his private practice, securing commissions from the Orleans Parish School Board and the First Methodist Church of Picayune, Mississippi. His professional career spanned four decades. He designed and renovated public schools, developed commercial properties for the Schwegmann supermarket chain, and created plans for religious institutions and residential property owners. In 1984, he participated in the Louisiana World Exhibition, for which he contributed the Korean pavilion.

To read more about Tsoi's work, see the Southeastern Architectural Archive's online finding aid.

No comments: