In 1997, twenty years after the construction of John Hara’s design of the Clare Boothe Luce Wing as an addition to architect Bertram Goodhue’s 1927 Honolulu Academy of Arts building, its Board of Trustees engaged Hara a second time for a project to bring the Academy into the 21st century. Although the recently renamed Museum is the pre-eminent fine arts facility in the Islands, it had never had sufficient facilities to allot permanent exhibition space to its extensive collection of Hawaiian arts or to dedicate a gallery to temporary and touring exhibitions. The Luce Pavilion, adjacent to and completing the setting of the Luce Wing, achieves both of these goals.
Based upon Goodhue’s fundamental design principle for the Academy of the integration of interior spaces and outdoor courts, the Pavilion’s design concept is centered upon its courtyard. This landscaped court provides public access to every area of the new wing and facilitates new after-hours usage of the Doris Duke Theater and other facilities when the Museum is closed. The court’s exterior stairway leading to the second-floor gallery prolongs the experience of being outdoors and offers an important elevated perspective of the revered architecture of the original building.
The Pavilion wing and courtyard include:
• a gift shop and outdoor café providing special amenity to visitors, spaces for private functions, and much-needed revenue to the Academy;
• two 4,000 square foot exhibition galleries stacked vertically for efficiency of space utilization for art of the past and future, temporary exhibitions downstairs, and the Academy’s permanent Hawaiian collection upstairs;
• a 1,100 square foot kitchen;
• 400 square feet of staff offices; and
• 16,300 square feet of support spaces in the form of exhibition preparation areas, storage, mechanical/electrical rooms, and toilets.
While the Luce Pavilion creates a welcoming ambience at the core of the Museum, its design intentionally does not lose sight of the new wing’s purpose: to be a backdrop for art and human interaction with art. Natural materials and earth tones provide a neutral setting for the successful exhibition of highly diverse art forms, and architectural elaboration is minimal, characteristic of an elegant, considered container for the focus of attention.
The carefully calibrated design elements in the new courtyard—the pool with its cascading water, clay tile roof, perforated stairway wall, and monumental contemporary ceramic forms of artist Jun Kaneko—are established in a careful interplay with rich flora. All pay homage to and continue to explore and re-define Goodhue’s original relationships between shaded interiors and sunlit places in which to linger in proximity to art.