UH grad students have block party


POSTED: Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The ultimate redevelopment of Kakaako's Block F, owned by Kamehameha Schools and bounded by Coral, Keawe and Auahi streets and Ala Moana Boulevard, could incorporate ideas presented yesterday by graduate students of the University of Hawaii School of Architecture.

Kamehameha Schools approached the architecture school because, while its Kaiaulu o Kakaako master plan — which includes Block F — had received approval, the economy had tanked, delaying a large-scale redevelopment. But they still wanted “;to do something,”; said professor William Paluch.

Previous projects for Paluch and his students included the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor and Fort Street Mall, so regarding Block F, Paluch said, “;Let's see what 'doing something' means.”;

The graduate students displayed their visions of that “;something”; yesterday at the Cupola Theatre at the Honolulu Design Center. The event for landowners, community members and their colleagues included a research presentation, renderings and 3-D scale models representing their vision for the future of a specific part of Kakaako.

Paluch oversaw the graduate students' projects, as he has for three years, with an eye toward identifying “;opportunities to redevelop underutilized sites,”; he said.

One task proposed for the grad students was to design a beer garden adjacent to Hank's Haute Dogs on Coral Street, which is a tenant of Kamehameha Schools.

The Hank's project was treated as small-scale project, done in collaboration with owner Hank Adaniya, who is also a Mobil star-winning chef.

“;It was a fine challenge, but we wanted to think beyond that, as well,”; Paluch said.

Another group of students was tasked with seeing how the sensibilities applied to the Hank's project “;might influence how we approach the design of an entire block.”;

Models depicting those visions were displayed as well.

The semester-long research, presented first, was conducted by a two-student team. They looked into the typical Honolulu lifestyle with the amount of energy consumed in an average day, and the existing character of Kakaako as well as industrial and post-industrial areas.

The fifth-year students “;have an understanding of what is required in terms of site analysis, understanding ... zoning; they have enough experience and skill to really deal with problems at a higher level of complexity,”; and regularly gain insight from members of the professional community, Paluch said.

For the students, yesterday's presentation was a bit of real-world-esque experience that is a step on the road out of academia and into the architectural work force.


Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Reach her by e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).