In Memoriam Sho-Ping Chin, FAIA (1953-2015)

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Hi Sho-Ping, it’s been two-and-a-half-years since you departed on what I call your EDD (Earth Departure Day), June 13, 2015. And it’s been two years and two days since I posted a note on December 11, 2016 about your passing. I just wanted to say hi. I miss you. I still can’t believe you’re not here. I still can’t wrap my head or heart around your exit from what Buckminster Fuller called Spaceship Earth. I’ve learned a lot about grief this past year, way too much. And I can apply at least something I’ve learned, in the spirit of the movie COCO, by remembering you this way from time to time. Whether I choose this date or the actual date of your “transition,” June 13, I don’t know yet. But I kind of like this choice because it happens during the window of time that spans Thanksgiving and Christmas. Which prompts to say, I’m thankful for our friendship. I consider it a gift. And whatever the design of the Architecture of Reality turns out to be (here’s hoping the Architect will someday do us the courtesy of rolling out the Floor Plan so we can finally find out), I’m hoping that we’ll again find ourselves in the same Room, as we were for too short a time here in Room Earth, and we can pick up our friendship where we left off. I don’t know where you are. (Do you know where I am?) As an architect, that bugs me. How could I feel comfortable not knowing where we are? Feeling clueless, in the dark? I like knowing how the rooms are arranged, what room I’ve been in and what rooms I could go to, the underlying concept of a design, how the basic elements of a design fit together in a clear, coherent, and intelligent way—especially in a building in which I dwell, whether my dwelling is a mortal building or an immortal Building: a human house or a transcendental House. It doesn’t matter whether I design the dwelling or the great Architect of Reality designs the Dwelling. I want to know. You and I, as architects, would never dream of not revealing to our clients everything about the building that we’ve designed for them. I give my clients total clarity. I’m sure that you did too—and I’m hoping that you still do, still architecting wherever you now find yourself. I wish that the great Master Architect, assuming there is one, which I do—call it the divine Mind, Spirit, the Force, whatever—would honor us in the same way. I may not have learned a whole lot in this life, but I have learned this: When it comes to designing, specifying, and constructing a building, ambiguity is the devil. Clarity is god. Do you know where you are? Do you know where you’ve been? Do your remember me? These kinds of heartfelt questions, a reflection of my existential architecture-quest for clarity in a fog of ambiguity, rise more pointed then ever from your passing and from the agony of my grief over losing my truelove a year a go. I’ll tell you one thing I do know: I remember you. Every time I eat broccoli, I think of you. You know why, right? Remember sophomore year at Princeton when you cooked for me in your dorm and convinced me to at least take a bite of the fresh broccoli that you stir-fried in your wok? You assure me that the broccoli wouldn’t taste the same as the awful soggy overcooked frozen “broccoli” that my mom made my brothers and me eat when we were growing up (bless your heart, Mom). You were right. And ever since, broccoli has been one of my favorite foods. I can’t eat broccoli without thinking of you. And guess what? I eat broccoli every day. Peace, dear Ping . . . peace . . . your forever friend, Jef7rey. I sure hope there are buildings in “heaven” and you’re working on one of them right now.

JEF7REY HILDNER, December 13, 2018

i’ve waited far too long to honor dear sho-ping by posting a comment or two… but i miss her, very much… and i still can’t wrap my head around her no longer being here… for her husband, david, and her daughter, poole… let alone for the likes of me and all of sho-ping’s other colleagues and friends… how sad this still makes me, her passing so unforgivably too soon… no longer able to talk together, however seldom though the years since college… no more able to hear sho-ping laugh and say encouraging things to me that lift my spirit… no more… no more… no more… until one day, i hope, when we reconnect, about architecture and painting and art and the art of life, under the night sky of some post-earth university lawn in the rotunda of this multi-dimensional universe… or meet at the threshold to a design studio beyond the horizon guarded by bronze tigers that look a lot like the duo, nightingale and herschel, who guard nassau hall… if it turns out, and it darn well better, that the architecture of reality has been designed by an architect worth her salt… an architect as levelheaded and creative, clockwork rational and benign… as my friend sho-ping chin

JEF7REY HILDNER, December 11, 2016

I didn’t realize this was here on your site or I would have left a comment sooner (Priscilla let me know of Sho-Ping’s passing). Sho-Ping was one of the people I have most enjoyed working with in my career. To put it most simply, she was a good, kind person who cared about others. She will be sorely missed.

Jenn Martinelli, September 1, 2015

So very sorry to hear of her passing. Sho-Ping was truly a wonderful person. She was incredibly knowledgeable and always willing to share her knowledge. She will be sorely missed.

ken hercenberg, July 27, 2015

We are so incredibly sorry to hear of Sho-Ping’s passing. Such a crushing lost to so many people who loved, respected and cared for her! Both her family and Payette are in our thoughts and prayers. She will be greatly missed….

Rachel & Chris Dumont, June 30, 2015

So sorry to hear about Sho-Ping. She was a tough negotiator and passionate about healthcare designs. I always enjoyed working with her. My condolences to her family, friends and coworkers. May her spirit live on…

Mary Kay Chapman (VA Manchester), June 26, 2015

I am honored to have known Sho-Ping, and have witnessed her influence on architecture and on women in architecture. She will be missed, but her legacy will continue.

Kate Schwennsen, June 25, 2015

We are so very saddened to learn the tragic news of Sho Ping’s passing. We remember her from many happy occasions. when she was with her sisters, brother and their families. Reading of her many professional accomplishments describes the legacy she left to all women, men and children who would enter the buildings she designed. The comments from her colleagues are a tribute to her talents and humanity.

The comments from her colleagues are a tribute to her talent, humanity and work in healthcare.

Joyce & Bob Anderson , June 19, 2015

It was a pleasure working Sho-Ping. My deepest sympathies to both her family and co-workers.

Jennifer Ross, June 18, 2015

Sho Ping was a remarkable woman and architect. She always thought of others first and was always there for you. I will greatly miss her sense of humor and her laughter.

David French, June 18, 2015

Sho Ping, a warm and generous person. Talented architect and caring wife and loving mother. I have only fond memories of how she took me and my son Zia, welcomed us to Boston and was helpful and always inclusive. A truly lovely person. Our thoughts are with her immediate family and Payette, her extended family.

Samir Sadrudin, June 18, 2015

Sho-Ping was such a unique combination of smart/funny/toughness. And what a great baker. I know I will think of her often and I will hold on to her spirit for as long as possible. The last time we spoke she was telling me how much she had learned about health care design by being a patient these last six months. Her stories were still full of her wicked self depricating humor. We said we would collaborate on an article about the stupid things architects think about designing for cancer patients. I’m so sorry we wont get the chance to write it..

Laura Poltronieri, June 17, 2015

We are so saddened to hear this terrible news. Our thoughts are with her family, friends and co-workers.

Rhino PR, June 17, 2015

Sho-Ping was an inspiration and mentor to me while at Payette and I will miss her humor, kindness and spirit. I am so thankful I was able to work with her and will remember her always.

Jennifer Bentley, June 17, 2015

It was a privilege for me to have known Sho-Ping. She was an extraordinary woman, architect and leader. Her dedication to providing healthcare to the most vulnerable in Haiti and around the world was amazing. My sincere condolences to the Payette family, Sho-Ping will be missed by many.

Lyris Bauduy-Liautaud, June 17, 2015

I am so great full to have had the opportunity to work with her; she was a wonderful mentor and friend. Her sprit and sense of humor will be missed.

Kathleen Hylka, June 17, 2015

My condolences to her family, friends and many colleagues. Sho-Ping was a force of nature, and I’ll miss her.

Gretchen Von Grossmann, June 17, 2015

I am really shocked and saddened. During my years at Payette she was a wonderful mentor and I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to work with her.. A very talented and passionate person. Her wit and energy will be missed by all I’m sure. My deepest condolences to the Payette family.

Malvika Sen, June 17, 2015

It’s very sad to see this news… Sho-Ping is such a wonderful person. Sho-Pings father was once a very influential architect/professor who inspired some very important architects in Taiwan. I miss the days in Payette very much. R.I.P. dear Sho-Ping.

Yi-Hsiang (Daniel) Chao, June 17, 2015

An absolutely terrific person, so full of energy caring and pleasure to work with. My condolences to the entire Payette family, she will be missed.

Gary Cabo, June 17, 2015

So very sorry to hear of Sho-Ping’s passing. She was a remarkable person – I recall her warmth, humor, honesty and determination. My sincere condolences to her family, and her colleagues at Payette and the BSA.

Ann Fienman, June 17, 2015

What a terrible tragedy for her family and the Payette family. May her work in healthcare and the humanism she advanced be an enduring legacy.

Christa Mahar, June 16, 2015

Sorry to hear of this loss. Her impact was massive and will be missed by communities spread out across the globe. Glad to have worked with her and will keep her spirit in mind and heart.

Dennis Grudkwoski, June 16, 2015

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