IBM Building (2008) SAVED


Honolulu’s historic IBM Building is getting a $20 million makeover, as the building’s owner, The Howard Hughes Corp., plans to convert part of the office building into a sales and information center for its 60-acre redevelopment area around Ward Centers in Kaka‘ako. Other floors in the six-story building will continue to be used as office space.

The previous owner’s master plan included demolition of the IBM Building. HHF strongly opposed the destruction of the icon and added it to the list of Most Endangered Historic Sites. HHF has been an active advocate for the building, and new owner Howard Hughes Corporation committed to preservation and rehabilitation, including upgrades to the building systems. The iconic grille, form and mass, materials, detailing and IBM sign will be refurbished and unchanged. The rooftop penthouse will be enlarged and a ground-level covered lanai will be added, along with changing the makai parking lot to a courtyard. These non-historic additions are reversible and HHF felt they are reasonable accommodations for the continued economic use of the landmark building.

Vladimir Ossipoff designed the office building for the IBM Corp. in 1962, and it is a masterpiece of mid-century regional modernism. It is historically significant for its design, use of materials, engineering and as the work of a master.


Article Written By: Michael Keany, HONOLULU Magazine

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.
2016-11-17T09:15:34+00:00 March 3rd, 2014|Categories: MES Oahu|Tags: , |