What is it?
Vladimir Ossipoff designed this Ala Moana Boulevard office building for the IBM Corp. in the early 1960s. It boasted a straightforward layout, and niceties such as a distinctive grille that’s made it one of Honolulu s most iconic buildings.
“It’s an interesting and worthwhile remnant of Hawaii’s 1960s period,” says Sydney Snyder, Ossipoff s long time architectural partner.
“It’s from that era when people put grilles on everything. This grille survived because it was unique and more elegant than most.”
What threatens it?
The building is actually in good shape, and in use. But General Growth Properties wants to tear it down as part of its master plan for the 60-acre Ward Centre complex. Jan Yokota, GGP vice president of development, says it’s too early to say when exactly demolition might happen. We’re planning a mix of mid and high rise buildings throughout the 60 acres [over the next 30 years]. But we haven’t designed any of the buildings yet, and have not settled on a phasing plan yet.”
What can be done?
The Hawai‘i Community Development Authority is currently reviewing GGP’s master plan, but the IBM Building isn’t currently on the HCDAs must save list, according to communications director Craig Nakamoto. “If the landowner wants to designate or get a building nominated as a historic building, the HCDA will do everything it can to support that. But any initiative to do that would have to come from General Growth Properties.”
In any case, it will likely be at least a few years before the wrecking ball swings, leaving open the possibility that GGP could be persuaded to incorporate the IBM Building into its master plan.