Talk about a #GlowUp. The Neal S. Blaisdell Center is getting a makeover and not the type that includes a simple Instagram filter. Located in what is known as “the urban heart of O‘ahu,” the Blaisdell Center holds a respected reputation for its influence on the arts and cultural society since its debut in 1964. What started as a memorial to honor veterans, would soon become a monumental staple of its local community, with as many as 800,000 visitors a year.
Like any great structure, time is not always a friend. Between aging and an immediate need for expansion, the city of Honolulu agreed to move forward and assist with the center’s revamp. So how does one plan to update a 22-acre complex? You sign-on brilliant minds that can envision the future aesthetic for Blaisdell, an aesthetic that will be seen by thousands in the years to come. With AECOM as design leaders within the master planning team, the goal will not only be to update existing structures but to create a bond between Blaisdell Center and its patrons. Afterall, Blaisdell has been the epicenter of culture in Honolulu, connecting newcomers and everyday visitors to a past filled with honor and local history.
The master plan will entail new additions, including a performance hall, exhibition hall, sports pavilion, and public space. Worried about parking? They’re getting a new parking structure as well, so you can avoid the pain of circling a lot for 30 minutes. #StruggleWasReal Through a series of workshops and collaboration with stakeholders and the community, this renovation became personalized to include three core values; “ho‘okahe wai (activate water), ho‘opili kānaka (gather community), and ho‘olaule‘a Hawai‘i (celebrate culture).” These three values, remind patrons of the rooted connection to natural resources that Hawaiin culture lives by, inspiring a landscaping and architectural design insync with community and nature. As the outdoor lifestyle is quite important to Hawaii, additions, renovations, and even a newly lifted terrace will all add to the site’s appreciation for water and its journey from mountain to sea.
Overall, if you’re looking to visit a place that encompasses all that is Hawaii, past and present, the newly renovated Blaisdell Center will show you just that, a welcoming vibe and rich history centered around the relationship between people, nature, and a culture filled with exciting talent.