High-Rises’ Design Inspired by the Ocean

Two new high-rises in Ward Village look to the sea for inspiration.
BY A. KAM NAPIER

The Waiea condominium tower will be built on the site of a parking lot (1 on the picture), while Anaha will take the former Pier I site (labelled as 2). The yellow highlight indicates the Howard Hughes properties in Kakaako. Photos: Images Courtesy The Howard Hughes Corporation

The Waiea condominium tower will be built on the site of a parking lot (1 on the picture), while Anaha will take the former Pier I site (labelled as 2). The yellow highlight indicates the Howard Hughes properties in Kakaako.
Photos: Images Courtesy The Howard Hughes Corporation

It’s not your imagination, Honolulu is packed with high-rises. In fact, it ranks sixth in the United States —right behind San Francisco—and 30th in the world among cities with the most skyscrapers, according to Emporis, a building-industry information clearinghouse.

Since statehood, high-rise condominiums have evolved from concrete towers with prominent lanai into shiny, smooth, glass towers such as Hokua or the Moana Vista. Some look better than others, but one thing none of them do particularly well is tell a story through architecture. That’s about to change with the first two luxury condos that Howard Hughes Corp. will be building in its Ward Village redevelopment. They won’t just offer ocean views, they’ll draw their inspiration from the ocean.

Waiea, at 1118 Ala Moana (currently the parking lot across from Ward Theatres), will tap into the area’s fishing history, while kitty-corner from it, at 1108 Auahi St. (formerly Pier 1), Anaha will reflect the ocean in a figurative as well as literal way, with windows and lanai set in undulating rhythms to resemble a procession of waves at sea catching the light. Anaha is designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz out of San Francisco with local partner Ben Woo Architects.

Strachan Forgan, an associate principal at SCB, says Anaha’s effect will be achieved by “interlocking and alternating softly curved floorplates, wrapped in a smooth glass skin. This composition is reminiscent of the play between the crests and troughs of an open-ocean wave (and) the reflection of light will constantly alter as the viewpoint and environmental conditions change.”

“The abstraction of waves is common in the Islands’ artistic traditions,” SCB says, and the firm aims for Anaha to contribute to that architecturally. Anaha also needed to fit in with the Ward Village master plan, so, while the abstracted waves of the tower speak to the area’s historic ties to the ocean, its ground floors fill the site, per the plan, with apartment flats and shops, offering, “a unique streetscape and interaction with the retail along Kamakee Street.” Says Forgan, “The opening created between these geometries creates a vibrant focal point approaching the lobby.”

For Waiea’s Canadian architect, James K.M. Cheng, the realization that the original shoreline passes right through Waiea’s site was pivotal to the building’s design. “That got us thinking about how to have a geological relationship with the site as well as a connection to Hawaiian folklore,” he says.

The geological relationship will come through in the way the three main masses of the building – high-rise tower, low-rise townhouses and parking structure – will seem to rise up out of reflecting pools and lava rock, as if they were islands themselves. For Cheng, however, the ocean represents a potential threat to the building as well as an inspiration.

“We’re aware of the possibility of sea-level rise, that in 50 years it could be higher than today, so all the life-sustaining equipment in the building is placed above grade,” he says. Along the makai side of the building, concrete walls that provide privacy for townhouse residents are also meant to protect the building from possible storm surges.

The top-to-bottom glass skin of a modern high-rise is called a curtain wall because it hangs like a curtain from the steel and concrete structure of the building. On Waiea, the glass will look like a curtain frozen in mid-billow, though the designers would prefer if you thought of it as a fishing net.

Honolulu architect Rob Iopa, president of WCIT Architecture, collaborated with Cheng on the design of Waiea, for which he did extensive research into the area’s history and legends.

In brief, there was a deity for fishing and ocean activities named Kuulakai, who possessed magical fishing tools and who had a son named Aiai. Kuulakai passed his knowledge on to Aiai, and, when the time came for Kuulakai to leave earthly life, he left his fishing tools to Aiai and instructed him to go from island to island establishing fishponds. Aiai did exactly that, finally settling in Kakaako, where he had a son of his own, Puniaiki, who helped Aiai develop fishponds.

The fishery just off the original shoreline in the area was known as Kukuluaeo, which is the name of the Hawaiian stilt, a long-legged bird that lives at the shoreline.

The legend plays out in the design of Waiea: the taller residential tower represents Kuula-kai, the lower represents Aiai and the gentle folds of the glass curtain wall is their net. Says Iopa, “Like Kuulakai and Aiai once did, the building stands in the tidal pools of the water’s edge, net draped, patiently waiting and ever searching.”

Before Western contact, Kakaako was filled with inland fishponds, salt pans, marshes and kalo loi, in addition to the thriving fisheries.

Landfill between the 1840s and 1880s eventually turned everything from the original shoreline all the way to the inner reef into solid land. The widest fill is everything between Ala Moana boulevard and Kakaako Waterfront Park. While the shoreline changed, things changed dramatically for Native Hawaiians, who once crowded into a shantytown called Squattersville on this new landfill until the area was cleared for a city incinerator.

Victoria and Curtis Perry Ward and their daughters then owned everything from Thomas Square to the shore, completing an elegant home called the Old Plantation in 1881 (torn down in 1958 to make way for the Blaisdell Center). In 1919, Kewalo Harbor was dredged, and became home to lumber schooners, then fleets of Japanese fishing sampans. Then light industry and retail came to the area.

Now Howard Hughes Corp., with the help of cultural advisors such as Iopa, is infusing its Ward Village redevelopment with nonstop Hawaiian terms, history and cultural concepts. Waiea means “water of life.” Anaha means “reflection of light.” Marketing material for Ward Village talks a lot about modern-day ahupuaa, as if it were possible to go directly from hale pili to high-rises.

And yet, it really is crafting a village. As dense as Kakaako is and seemingly packed with people, it’s a bit shocking when Race Randle, director of development for Howard Hughes, reminds me that, in the 60 acres it is redeveloping, there are currently no actual residents.

“It’s all commercial right now,” he says. When the redevelopment is complete, with its 20 new towers over the next 10 or 20 years, there will be 4,000 families in the area. “It would take 800 acres of green field in Ewa to house that many people.”

These first two towers, on which construction will start this year, are definitely statement buildings. Studio apartments at Anaha start in the $470,000s and one-bedroom units at Waiea start at $1.5 million. Waiea also features a penthouse with four bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms and 4,000 square feet of space.* Part of what they’re asserting is an environmental sensitivity throughout the Ward Village concept. So far, so good. In late November, the Ward Village project – the entire 60-acre master plan – was awarded a LEED Neighborhood Design Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, for sustainability as a walkable, mixed-use neighborhood. It’s the nation’s largest such project and the only platinum-certified project in Hawaii, the design team says. LEED certifications for individual projects such as Waiea and Anaha will be pursued as they’re built.

The plan also calls for each tower to have a different team of mainland and local architects, to bring variety to the neighborhood. It would not be surprising, though, if many of the projects have Iopa’s indirect fingerprints, as he has consulted on the master plan itself.

As for his work on Waiea, he says, “We are excited by the opportunity to participate and contribute to tall-building architecture that says, ‘Design does matter.’ ” 

http://www.hawaiibusiness.com/Hawaii-Business/February-2014/High-Rises-Design-Inspired-by-the-Ocean/

Howard Hughes Corp. unveils Honolulu’s redeveloped IBM Building: Slideshow

Jan 24, 2014, 2:47pm HST UPDATED: Jan 27, 2014, 2:10pm HST
Duane Shimogawa Reporter – Pacific Business News

Workers prepare for a private grand opening of the newly renovated IBM building.

Workers prepare for a private grand opening of the newly renovated IBM building.

The Howard Hughes Corp. on Friday unveiled its $24.4 million redevelopment of the iconic IBM Building in Honolulu, which is now an information center and residential sales gallery for the Texas-based developer’s Ward Village master plan in Kakaako.

The plan is to open the center to the public on Jan. 31, Nick Vanderboom, senior vice president of development for The Howard Hughes Corp., told PBN. Click on the photo for a slideshow.

“The IBM Building is a perfect example of The Howard Hughes Corp.’s long-term commitment to blend our respect for Hawaii’s unique and rich history with our vision for Ward Village as a vibrant, environmentally sustainable, integrated community,” Vanderboom said in a statement.

The IBM building, which was originally designed in 1962 by famed famed Hawaii architect Vladimir Ossipoff, is part of the developer’s first phase of its Ward Village plan that includes its first three residential towers, The renovation preserved the tower’s distinct concrete brise-soleil and included complete interior renovations of the first, second and sixth levels of the building.

The redevelopment also included an addition to the seventh-floor rooftop, an open air lanai addition to the ground floor and an upgrade of the site’s hardscape and landscape, eliminating parking to create a courtyard, a Native Hawaiian Garden and community space on the makai side of the building.

The ground floor, which houses the Ward Village master plan information center, features an original wall mural by Native Hawaiian artist Solomon Enos, an interactive exhibit created in partnership with the Bishop Museum showcasing the history of the Ward area, demonstrative displays and models that show details of the planned 60-acre project and a theatre open to the public to watch a film about Ward Village.

001The ground floor also will include a restaurant, which will overlook the makai courtyard and a water feature.

David Striph, senior vice president of Hawaii for The Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE: HHC), told PBN that it is talking to potential tenants for the space, but that no decision has been as to who will lease that space.

The sales gallery, which is located on the sixth floor, has complete model units for the first two planned mixed-use condominium towers, Waiea at 1118 Ala Moana Blvd. and Anaha at 1108 Auahi St.

Sales for both condos are expected to begin in early 2014, the developer said.

Penthouse at Howard Hughes’ Honolulu condo project priced at $20M

Jan 31, 2014, 2:00pm HST
Duane Shimogawa Reporter – Pacific Business News

A penthouse in the proposed Waiea tower in The Howard Hughes Corp.'s Ward Village in Honolulu, seen in this rendering has a price tag of $20 million, the developer said Friday.

A penthouse in the proposed Waiea tower in The Howard Hughes Corp.’s Ward Village in Honolulu, seen in this rendering has a price tag of $20 million, the developer said Friday.

The Howard Hughes Corp., which has plans to build two ultra-luxury, mixed-use condominium towers as part of its Ward Village master plan in Kakaako, on Friday published owner-occupant pre-sales notices for the two projects, including a penthouse with an asking price of $20 million, a record for the highest asking price ever for a new condo unit in Hawaii.

Nick Vanderboom, senior vice president of development for The Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE: HHC), said that sales for the two buildings, Waiea and Anaha, begin Saturday at 9 a.m.

The starting price of a studio unit in Anaha, located at 1108 Auahi St. on the site of the former Pier 1 Imports store, is in the high $400,000s to high $500,000s, while a one-bedroom unit ranges between $600,000 and mid $1 million.

A two-bedroom unit starts in the high $900,000s to more than $2 million, with three-bedroom units ranging from more than $1 million to more than $4 million, and penthouses priced at more than $1 million to $14 million.

A one-bedroom unit in Waiea, located at 1118 Ala Moana Blvd., across from the Ward Entertainment Center, starts at more than $1 million, with a two-bedroom unit going for between more than $1 million to more than $4 million, and three-bedrooms priced from more than $2 million to $7 million range.

Penthouses in Waiea range from $4 million to $20 million with villas ranging from more than $4 million to $5 million.

Long lines already started forming Friday at the historic IBM building, which has been renovated to include an information center and residential sales gallery for the developer’s Ward Village master plan.

“We are pleased to invite all interested members of the public to join us for a first look at these exceptional residences set among dynamic public open spaces and walkable streets in the heart of Honolulu,” Vanderboom told PBN in an email.

A week ago, The Howard Hughes Corp. unveiled its $24.4 million redeveopment of the iconic IBM Building.

The Howard Hughes Corp. plans to add more than 900 residential units in the first phase of its Ward master plan, which represents more than $1.25 billion in economic impact and thousands of direct and indirect jobs for Oahu, according to a study by ALH Urban & Regional Economics.

LUXURY condominium Waiea to be built at Ward Village.

The owner of Ward Centers is preparing to open a public sales gallery soon for the first two of 22 planned condominium towers envisioned to transform 60 acres of Kaka­ako into a largely residential community called Ward Village. But one big, eye-popping detail will be missing among all the marketing materials.

Capture06That would be the asking price for the “grand penthouse” in the more luxurious of the two initial towers where the cheapest unit starts at about $1.5 million.

As it is sketched out, the grand penthouse will span the top two floors of the 36-story tower named Waiea to be built makai of the movie theaters at Ward Centers on the corner of Kama­kee Street and Ala Moana Boulevard overlooking Ala Moana Beach Park.

The living area is programmed for seven bedrooms, eight bathrooms and two half-bathrooms — 21,182 square feet in all if you include the 3,661-square-foot lanai fronting an infinity-edge pool.

Just the maintenance fee for the unit’s owner to help pay for general tower operating expenses is estimated at $19,521 per month, or about $234,000 a year, according to a disclosure report filed with the state Real Estate Commission.

Local real estate agents believe Waiea’s grand penthouse would be the biggest and priciest in Hawaii.

By comparison, the biggest penthouse in the One Ala Moana luxury condo under construction atop the Nordstrom parking garage at Ala Moana Center is about 4,100 square feet and is under contract with buyer for $10 million — a record price for a residential high-rise unit in Hawaii.

Many industry observers expect Waiea’s grand penthouse will break the record. But by how much?That’s more uncertain.

Trevor Benn, president of local brokerage firm Benn Pacific Group, said he has no doubt a record will be shattered if Waiea’s grand penthouse is sold. “Ten million is probably the cost to build it,”he said.

Some local real estate agents who attended the recent brokers event hosted by Waiea’s broker, Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties, have talked about the asking price for the unit being $50 million.

Howard Hughes Corp., the developer of Waiea and Ward Village, contends that $50 million isn’t the asking price. The company said the source of the figure was a broker in Japan who published incorrect information about the unit online that got repeated at the event for local brokers.

“It was just a mistake,”said David Striph, senior vice president in Hono­lulu for Texas-based Hughes Corp.

So what’s the true list price?Striph would not say. He said the price is to be discreetly shared with potential buyers in a more exclusive marketing effort. “It’s not going to be a broad-marketed unit,”he said.

If the grand penthouse were priced in straight relation to its maintenance fee, which is about 15 times greater than Waiea’s smallest unit, it would cost $22.5 million.

Whatever the price is, if it doesn’t go over well with prospective buyers, then Hughes Corp. has an option to restructure the space into multiple smaller penthouse units perhaps similar to the 10 other penthouses slated for Waiea ranging from 2,320 to 7,418 square feet for which Striph declined to share prices.

The super-luxury condo trend includes a tower called The Mansions at Acqualina being built in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla., near Miami where the developer is asking $55 million for a 16,000-square-foot penthouse dubbed Palazzo d’Oro with 360-degree ocean views.

In Hong Kong a buyer paid about $55 million in 2012 for a new 6,755-square-foot unit in the Opus Hong Kong building designed by famed architect Frank Gehry on a bluff overlooking downtown towers and Victoria Harbour.

New York City is at another level, with developers asking and receiving close to $100 million for expansive units with towering views. At a 90-story Manhattan tower named One57, two penthouses between 11,000 square feet and 14,000 square feet are reportedly under contract for about $90 million each, while a rival tower called 432 Park has sold its top penthouse for $95 million.

“There’s a trend in big cities all over the world to do these larger units,”Striph said.

Penthouse in Howard Hughes’ Ward project in Honolulu priced at record $50M

Dec 12, 2013, 2:59pm HST UPDATED: Dec 13, 2013, 10:24am HST
Duane Shimogawa Reporter – Pacific Business News

The Waiea tower in The Howard Hughes Corp.'s Ward Village in Honolulu has a penthouse priced at $50 million — a record asking price for a new condominium unit in Hawaii.

The Waiea tower in The Howard Hughes Corp.’s Ward Village in Honolulu has a penthouse priced at $50 million — a record asking price for a new condominium unit in Hawaii.

A penthouse with its own swimming pool in one of The Howard Hughes Corp.’s planned luxury condominiums in Honolulu’s Kakaako neighborhood is priced at $50 million — a record for the highest asking price ever for a new condominium unit in Hawaii, according to a Honolulu Realtor.

The building will include about 170 market-rate one-, two- and three-bedroom units, as well as 10 townhomes.

The $50 million pricetag for the penthouse is far above asking prices for other luxury units currently under development.

Some units at the 37-story Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach condo-hotel are priced as high as $15 million. Meantime, penthouse suites at the 23-story, 206-unit One Ala Moana ultra-luxury condominium that’s being built atop the parking garage of Nordstrom’s Ala Moana Center store, were priced as high as $10 million.

The other Ward Village tower, being called “Anaha,” located at the northeast corner of Auahi and Kamakee streets at the former Pier 1 Imports location, is expected to be in the luxury range, commanding up to $1,400 a square foot.

It will include about 310 one-, two- and three-bedroom units, with 82 apartments and townhomes.

Sales for both towers are expected to begin in late January for the general public.

A third tower, which will be 38 stories high and will include 424 affordable units at the site of the old Kanpai Bar and Grill on Ward Avenue, also is in the works.

The Howard Hughes Corp. (NYSE: HHC) plans to add more than 900 residential units in the first phase of its Ward master plan, which represents more than $1.25 billion in economic impact and thousands of direct and indirect jobs for Oahu, according to a study by ALH Urban & Regional Economics.

Through a spokeswoman, The Howard Hughes Corp. said that the launch date for sales of these two condos is set for early 2014, and that the price ranges are not yet publicly available.

Company Disclaimer: Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.