AIA Honolulu Opens Center for Architecture on Fort Street

Dream House: You’re always welcome at the new Center for Architecture.

photo: geoffrey lewis architect, inc.

While the Honolulu chapter of the American Institute of Architects has lived in a number of downtown spaces, its new Center for Architecture on Fort Street isn’t just a new location, it’s a new approach to what AIA’s headquarters can be—a
dynamic place in which the public, architects and related professionals (engineers, urban planners, contractors) can meet to discuss Honolulu’s design challenges.

Of course, a Center for Architecture had better look architectural, and Center’s new mission is reflected in its design. Geoff Lewis’ design, to be specific, selected from among 16 proposals in a competition.

“Conceptually, we wanted to celebrate different periods of architecture in Hawaii, but in a contemporary way,” says Lewis. Functionally, the space can be reconfigured as needed, whether the Center is conducting private business with its membership or hosting 80 people for a film series or lecture.

The Center had a dry run at its new mission before it was even completed last month, hosting presentations by mayoral candidates on their proposed transportation systems. “The idea was to make design professionals part of the conversation about what works and what doesn’t,” says Philip “Pip” White, current president of AIA Honolulu. “When the community has questions about issues that involve the physical plant of the city, architects bring a special talent to the table.”

It’s not all serious business; the Center is also the new home base for the AIA’s popular walking tours of downtown Honolulu.

The grand opening is during this month’s First Friday, Nov. 2, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Drop by, and feel free to let the AIA know what you’d like to see happen at the Center in the future. How it goes about fostering the kind of discussion it’s built for is very much open to evolution. 

“Honolulu’s 10 Best Buildings” Panel Discussion

Based on HONOLULU Magazine’s June 2012 article, moderated by editor A. Kam Napier and featuring some of the contributing architects.

The Center for Architecture
828 Fort Street Mall, Suite 100.
Wednesday, Dec. 5, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.