Howard Hughes completed the restoration of the iconic IBM building in Honolulu’s Kaka’ako district earlier this year. I have heard from many people over the years say how much they disliked the building and thought it should be torn down. It always surprised me because I have always felt so differently about the building. My father, Richard Jackson, worked for IBM and his office was in the building. If memory serves, his office was on the seventh floor facing the ocean. At the time, it was the hip place to be.
It was Howard Hughes’ original plan to tear the building down. Likely a condo tower would have gone in its place much to the dismay of the residents of the Koolani. However, a grass roots effort saved the building. Designed by famous architect, Vladimir Ossipoff, it was a very unique building for its time. Ossipoff is one of the most celebrated architects for tropical climates of the 20th century. The IBM building was an example of Modernism and considered to be even ahead its time when it was completed in 1962. The cube shape and the brise-soleil is what makes the building have such a unique appearance.
At the time, tinting products were in their infancy and so the grill, or brise-soleil, was a way to shield the building from the heat of the sun. You could still look out over the park and out to the ocean. What a wonderful view to have from your office!
Howard Hughes has spent roughly $24 million on the renovation and remaking of the IBM building. They ripped down interior walls to open up the space so more of the view could be enjoyed in all directions. They also chose to celebrate the shape of the brise-soleil in the surrounding parking lot in the paving design. They opened up the ocean side on the ground floor, creating more of an indoor-outdoor feel. It also the courtyard in the rear of the building to be used as a gathering place. Once again, it is the hip place to be!
It is wonderful that Howard Hughes is taking steps to support architectural uniqueness in their Ward Village projects. We are all excited about seeing what Waiea and Anaha will look like when completed. However I am most excited about their newest project, Gateway. It will be designed by awarding winning architect Richard Meier. It will be wonderful to have another amazing architect touch the Kakaako landscape with their brilliance.
If you want to know more about Kaka’ako and some of the up and coming changes and condos, feel free to contact me, Malia at 808-394-9779.