Hawaii architect Rob Iopa shares the story behind the design of Kakaako’s Waiea tower

Courtesy The Howard Hughes Corp. The Waiea tower

Courtesy The Howard Hughes Corp.
The Waiea tower

The Waiea, The Howard Hughes Corp.’s luxury residential high-rise on Ala Moana Boulevard, will feature one of the most unique exterior designs among the high-rises in Kakaako, reflecting the area in which it is being built.

Rob Iopa, president of Honolulu’s WCIT Architecture, who had a major role in designing the tower on a former surface parking lot in Ward Village, shared with PBN the story behind the design.

“Essentially, it’s a story of two Hawaiian fishing gods, a father and son from Kauai, who stopped on every island to teach everyone to fish,” he said. “They stopped in Kakaako and found this as their home. When the father passed, he gave his son five fishing tools that were used by Hawaiians to fish. The tower was designed with this story in mind.”

The tower, Iopa said, has two segments, the taller and shorter parts, with a net that creates the glass facade.

“This land was part of the ocean,” he said. “The former shoreline was right where Ala Moana Boulevard is.”

Another part of the story is that the Waiea is a rare example of a local architectural firm playing a major role in the exterior design of a new Kakaako high-rise. Most of the design work is going to out-of-state firms. Find out why in PBN’s Friday print edition.

Duane Shimogawa Reporter – Pacific Business News

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