Interpreting the culture of Maui in contemporary architecture
“The imagery and function of Ka’ahumanu Center capture the essence of Maui’s natural climate and landscape. High technology and indigenous architectural features are ingenuously combined in an improved retail environment.”
The expansion and renovation of single-level mall into a two-level center repositioned Queen Ka'ahumanu Center as an architectural landmark with a contemporary identity that embraces the island's unique climate and character. The expansion created generous interior spaces and an up-to-date image. Above a new second floor, an undulating roof floats atop a delicate steel frame. Multiple layers of Teflon-coated fiberglass form a lightweight roof canopy that is supported by tension wires. This permanent and permeable structure allows air and light to circulate and shields shoppers from heat and rain. The roofline’s lofty surface terminates at a luminous skylight. Along the sides, the canopy’s taut surface dissolves into a series of flat panels that swing open and close like the billowing sails of trade ships powered by the Kona winds. Openings between the panels reveal views of the surrounding sea, sky, and mountains.
Paving patterns imitate the play of light on the ocean, and custom-designed light fixtures, illuminated at night, evoke the torches of island villages. Architectural details and signage incorporate local flora and a likeness of the 19th-century Queen Kaahumanu. Outdoor and indoor landscaping celebrates the island’s varied and exotic plants.