In 1927, New York architect Bertram Goodhue designed the Honolulu Academy of Arts, establishing one of the first and finest examples of a 20th century Hawaiian style of architecture. In Goodhue’s hands this style was one of unornamented classic volumes, well-studied and dignified in their proportion, with steep tiled roofs, loggias, stucco walls over rubble stone, and chamfered doorjambs surrounding utterly simple white galleries. Goodhue’s architectural language is one of a series of alternating courtyards and enclosed galleries that lead the visitor through natural transitions between indoors and sheltered outdoor spaces.
The first of John Hara’s two architectural projects for additions to this historic Goodhue building was the Clare Boothe Luce Wing, which created a much-needed new gallery on the main level. A theater or lecture hall occupies the basement level below, with a separate street-level entry to the theater which facilitates after-hours use. Staff offices and a Director’s Office were housed on the second floor above, with views into the surrounding tree canopy.
The language of the new architecture is carefully distinguished from the old without mimicry. While respecting the original building’s cadence, form, and its differentiation and employment of double-height and lower loggia spaces to accommodate and enhance function, the new Wing also preserves the system of arcades through the building and provides for the Academy’s eventual further extension.