Get aboard green train


POSTED: Monday, April 13, 2009

Sustainability. Green Design. Transit-oriented development. These are all terms that are now used in mainstream conversations, but have long been part of the vocabulary of the architecture community.





        The American Institute of Architects, Honolulu Chapter, will host a free video presentation, “;Transit is Coming: The Impact on Honolulu,”; followed by a panel discussion.

» When: 5:30 p.m. April 21


» Where: Honolulu Design Center's Cupola Theater


» Panelists: Sid Char, AIA; Wayne Yoshioka, city Transportation Services director; John Whalen, Transit Committee co-chair, American Planning Association; Mike Hunneman, president of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Hawaii chapter. Howard Dicus, of KGMB-TV, PBS Hawaii and Hawaii Public Radio, will moderate.


» Registration: Free, but advance registration is required online at www.aiahonolulu.org, or call 545-4242




As we celebrate Architecture Month in Hawaii in April, the American Institute of Architects, Honolulu Chapter (AIA Honolulu) believes each of us enjoys a special privilege by living surrounded by such natural beauty. That privilege, however, requires every member of our community to be a responsible steward of our lands and our built environment.

AIA Honolulu calls for all citizens to reinvest in our island home by considering Hawaii's built environment. Particularly during these difficult economic times, design professionals support plans for enhancing infrastructure as we focus on the schools, hospitals and other critical institutions that give shape to our community.

As a prime example, the hot-topic rail transit system demands thoughtful conversation. AIA Honolulu will host a free video presentation, “;Transit is Coming: The Impact on Honolulu”; beginning at 5:30 p.m. April 21 in the Honolulu Design Center's Cupola Theater. (See box at right.)

There is a misconception that architects only design brick-and-mortar buildings. On the contrary, we believe we build communities through thoughtful design. Buildings impact our health, safety and welfare; equally important, they also impact the way we as people relate to one another and to our environment.

One of AIA Honolulu's missions is to foster local awareness of our built environment, so future generations can continue to enjoy our unique island lifestyle.

Sustainability has seemed to become trendy in recent years, but it is a concept architects embraced long ago as part of overall good design. Many stellar examples of green design are right here in Hawaii, including the lauded Case Middle School at Punahou — it won awards for design as well as the HECO Energy Efficiency Award from Hawaiian Electric Co.

Visit http://www.aiahonolulu.org to learn more about how architects build communities and to see the schedule of fun and enlightening activities planned for Architecture Month.

On April 25 AIA Honolulu is pleased to again offer its Annual Downtown Walking Tour, free. Normally $15, hundreds of people enjoyed the 2- 1/2 hour, docent-led tour last year, learning about architecturally significant historic buildings.

Just yesterday, the Honolulu Academy of Arts's Free Family Sunday provided a keiki activity focused on Washington, D.C., in honor of our new president.

By encouraging community conversations through free public events like the transit panel and walking tours, AIA hopes to reinforce the values of good design in making our communities a better place to live, work and play.

Since 1926, AIA Honolulu has served its membership and the community by promoting design excellence in Hawaii's built environment. Its continuing education programs promote leadership and professionalism among its membership of approximately 800 architects and allied building professionals, and educate the public about architecture and the value of quality design.

Globally, members of The American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities for 152 years to create more valuable, healthy, secure and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. AIA members have access to the right people, knowledge and tools to create better design, and through such resources and access, they help clients and communities make their visions real.


Charles Kaneshiro, AIA, chairman of Architecture Month, 2009, is vice president/president-elect of AIA Honolulu.