Photos: Courtesy of Rae Huo
Work on the structure began, and the historic medal grille has been removed and the covered driveway demolished. Plans have been changed to turn the building into student dormitories that will be marketed to Hawaii Pacific University students.
What is it?
Some historic buildings don’t appeal to our aesthetic sensibilities. They may be old enough and interesting enough to merit historic protections, but their design seems outdated rather than charming. The infamous Queen Emma Building, with its pockmarked appearance, is a prime example.
Designed in the 1960’s by Jo Paul Rognstad, it was originally named the York Building, after the York Barbell Co. Built for physician and weight-lifting guru Dr. Richard W. You, the eccentric, brutalist design touches are fitting for a building inspired by feats of brute strength.
LISTED AS ENDANGERED IN 2011
Article Written By: Victoria Wiseman, HONOLULU Magazine
What threatens it?
According to its current owner, Maui-based developer Greg Hatcher of GP Pacific Inc., the building has been vacant for more than five years. It has changed hands twice in that time: in 2006, it was slated to become university student housing, but went back on the market in 2008. Hatcher purchased the building in late 2010 and has plans to turn it into 106 condominiums for residents 60 years or older, re-branding it the “Queen Emma Regency.”
His plans are to scrap the exterior of the building. “We’re going to take down the metal façade and replace that with a blush glass curtain wall and put metal panels over the brick,” Hatcher said.
What can be done?
“It never occurred to me to keep it like it is, so I’m actually interested to hear anyone’s arguments to have it stay like it is. I’d love to hear what someone has to say about it,” says Hatcher. Contact the developer at firstname.lastname@example.org. See the proposed condo plans at queenemmaregency.com