It's become a familiar sight: glossy renderings from big-name architects promoting new luxury condo towers. But in this case the setting is unexpected, rather than New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles, these new towers are cropping up in a gentrifying area of Honolulu known as Kaka'ako, nestled between the resorts of Waikiki, and the Downtown business district. For its latest offering, Ward Village, one part of a massive redevelopment plan for the entire Kaka'ako neighborhood, has enlisted Prizker Prize-winner Richard Meier, and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (best known for the Fifth Avenue Apple Store in New York), to design iconic towers that will no doubt attract premium prices to match their architects' celebrity cachet. And while most people celebrate the influx of new housing units in a region of limited supply, some may be wondering who these new condos are really for.
With Ward Village, Richard Meier and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Bring Signature Architecture to Honolulu
Public Architecture is an organization with a simple goal: to address public interest through architecture and solve problems of human interaction within the built environment. The San Francisco based non-profit was established in 2002 and in its past ten years it has served as a forum for public discourse, education and advocacy for the design of public spaces and amenities. In 2005 it launched its 1% program, a now nationally recognized portfolio of pro-bono work by architects and firms ready to donate 1% of their year's billable hours to provide work for nonprofit organizations requesting a variety of services that strengthen their architectural identity and community impact. To date, there are 1100 firms registered with the 1% program.