This project aims to revitalize Honolulu’s Chinatown through the construction of new housing and commercial space using sustainable, green architecture in a mode that accommodates the historic significance of the neighborhood. Sustainable development is cheaper and would serve as long-term, low-income housing, as well as be an affordable space to run a business. Not only would sustainable architecture serve an environmental and economical benefit, but modern construction would also contribute to the visual architecture of Chinatown.
This building would be utilized by business owners and the low-income population. It would also serve the Chinese-American community which would benefit from the rehabilitation of Chinatown. This project could potentially improve the local economy, given that many businesses in Chinatown are local family businesses.
To enhance the architecture of Chinatown (unique in that it consists of historic buildings, which were established in the 1840’s). Build it to act as affordable housing, which is necessary in the high-cost state of Hawaii. Many people struggle with finding housing in the city. Rebuilding damaged buildings in the run-down neighborhood of Chinatown with sustainable materials would improve the quality of the neighborhood, which is desperately needed.
Using sustainable materials would be cheaper than rebuilding completely, would last hundreds of years, and would benefit the environment. These buildings would serve as housing and allow for more affordable rent/mortgage. The sustainable materials in question are waste-based-bricks (including recycled plastic waste or mineral waste), sustainably grown repurposed invasive lumber, carbon-sequestered-concrete, ceramic tile, and limestone plaster. In addition, the waste-based bricks could be used to recycle/upcycle waste produced in Hawaii rather than shipping it across the Pacific to Asia or North America. The green architecture in question would be moss lawns/walls, which would offset pollution in the city, could be used as an insulator, and also serves for more greenery in the neighborhood.
At this point, I had decided on a location, the intersection of North Pauahi Street and River Street.
Existing conditions include:
- Nearby outdoor market
- River across the street
- Park across the street
- Sun rises upwards from the buiding
- Sun sets downwards from the building
- Courtyard/parking is left of the building
- Bus station across the street
Neighborhood specifics include:
- Lots of public transit
- Lots of foot transit
Context of the space:
- North-West of the financial district
- North-West of downtown
- Between suburbs and downtown
Circulation specifics include:
- Located on a two-way street
- Located near two main boulevards
- Nearest highway is a three minute drive
Sensory specifics include:
- Mid/low traffic in the area
- Park sounds
- River sounds
- River smells
Potential of the space includes
- Three story facade
- Extra height for residential in the back
Despite the chosen location and analysis, I struggled with creating the scale of the building I desired. The images below demonstrate my design process.
This design is the first design I created, but I felt that it did not accommodate as many families/units as I wished.
This was larger and allowed for an interior courtyard, but I felt it was too big to be a conceivable building in the neighborhood
Program Data Sheets
The sheets below are preliminary plans for one model of residential space and one model of commercial space.
This design accommodates more families than my initial design, while taking up less space than my second design. The individual unit size and shape would grow to change, but this is generally the final shell of the building.
B Bed, BT Bathroom, C Closet, D Dining, K Kitchen, L Living
(Commercial differ by the client. Examples A) restaurant B) grocery store)
B Bar, BT Bathroom, C Cashier, D Dining, O Office, K Kitchen, S Shopping, ST Storage
To develop design I examined the scale of the building, and found the outlines united above to accommodate an appropriate space while also being an easy-to-plan housing unit. The above image on the left hand depicts the commercial floor, and how it interacts with the street view and car park. The above image on the right hand depicts the residential floors, which are all identical – consideration includes views out the window. Both images consider hallways and elevators, as well as the driveway.
Interior + Exterior
Aerial + Floor Plan
Residential Unit Floor Plan
- Are there any cultural neighborhoods in your city that you feel are worth investing in?
- How are local and family businesses doing in your city? Both in general, and due to COVID-19.
- Do you know if any new construction in your area is actively using sustainable materials?
- Reducing Carbon, One Truck At A Time
- Special District Design Guidelines
- Zoning and Special District Design Guidelines in Chinatown