Miller Fong, who for many years has taught a USC School of Architecture class known as “Architect’s Sketchbook,” likes to share his “gift of design, drawing and visualizing” with the young architects he teaches. “The journey from head to hand to paper is very different than through the computer,” he says. “I want to give students a tool to put their vision on paper without the computer.”
Fong, whose parents Danny Ho and Muey Fong emigrated from Canton, China, in 1936, was born in the back of their curio store at Seventh and Figueroa streets in downtown L.A. His predilection for architecture emerged early; he was mesmerized at age 9 by the construction of the Statler Hilton across the street. Fong’s father, who never finished junior high school but dreamt of being an architect himself, was adamant that his three children be educated.
Fong started his own architecture practice upon graduating USC in 1964; he also married his wife, Jetty, that same year, and eventually became the principal designer for Fong Brothers Co. of Los Angeles, a firm started by his parents in 1953. A leading manufacturer of rattan and wicker furniture, the company became known nationwide for its sleek, nontraditional designs. The iconic Wave chaise, designed by Danny Ho Fong in 1966, is in the permanent collection of New York City’s Museum of Modern Art, and Miller Fong’s Zen-inspired Lotus chair (1968) is in the permanent collection at the L.A. County Museum of Art.
Fong’s daughter and granddaughter are both Trojans.