Ola Ka ‘Ilima Artist Loft Housing

Artspace Projects Inc.

Honolulu, Hawaii
Complete 2019

Ola Ka ‘Ilima Artspace Lofts is a mixed-use affordable housing development in Honolulu’s rapidly changing Kakaʻako neighborhood, combining live/work space for artists and their families, space for a non-profit organization, and retail space, as well as podium-level space for hosting community events and gatherings.

The paired eight-story buildings include 84 rental units featuring high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, durable surfaces, and large doors to accommodate a variety of creative activities. The one-, two-, and three-bedroom units are larger than typical affordable units to allow for ample workspace; some are double-height townhouse-style units. Resident incomes are at or below 60% of the area median income for their household size, with preference given to applicants who are committed to the practice of their art.

Community is fostered through wide balcony-style access hallways and a podium level with kitchen, laundry, and workshop areas. The common open space features play equipment and individual garden planters for each unit, with large cisterns holding rainwater for irrigation. The paired apartment blocks were designed with open, single-loaded corridors and unit layouts that optimize natural ventilation. The deep walkway overhangs on the courtyard facades and exterior shading blades on the street facades minimize solar heat gain. The project is targeting a sustainability goal of LEED NC 2009 Gold certification.

Centrally located in a transit-oriented development area, generous awnings shade the sidewalks flanking the buildings. One street front houses the PA‘I Arts & Culture Center, which serves Native Hawaiian dancers, musicians, visual artists, and cultural practitioners; the PA‘I Foundation was instrumental in establishing local support and funding for the entire project. The center will combine gallery space with office space and a flexible double-height space for teaching and performing hula, music, and other traditional practices.

In collaboration with Weinstein A+U

Photo Credit: Andrew Richard Hara