Letters

Building concern

Most architects (“Architecture Matters Now,” Nov. 14) don’t consider new building proposals within the context of their surrounding buildings, landscape and pedestrian environs. Artist renderings show the building standing alone, an “erection” of some wealthy developer’s personal tastes.

Hawaii’s climate is for walking, but the author neglects this consideration. Multistory towers can be located to create cool shade, windbreaks, reflective light, their awnings a shelter from rain. What views are offered from inside new buildings? This article is form over function, achitectural style before substance.

Art Lewellan [ViaHonoluluWeekly.com]

I’m not clear on what the interviewees mean by good architecture, but I definitely had a similar impression. While preservation has it’s place, I’m more concerned about good place-making versus ultra-hip, single-standing buildings that may look great, but may not function or “feel” great.

“Jazzaloha” [ViaHonoluluweekly.com]

The few building designs I’ve seen proposed for Kaka’ako are simply dull and repetitious monolithic towers. The two concepts I saw for for Abercrombie’s 650 foot “Troll Towers” were dreadful, reminiscent of one of the bad Batman cityscapes. But then again, if you plan to put a train up on stilts through your town, what matters the building features?

So, whilst I encourage our local architect community to get on the stick and do what ever is needed to bring some life into the Third City, I have limited expectations. The best point of this article was that we need an easily accessible public forum to see what is being proposed and actually provide input.

“Blind Mice” [ViaHonoluluWeekly.com]

Superstorm Sandy devastated New York City. Major hospitals were evacuated. One estimated the damages at $1 billion. While people are told they will be safe if they evacuate to higher floors, residents of highrises were left without electricity, water, sewage, telephone service, and heat because groundlevel or basement electrical rooms, elevator rooms, mechanical rooms, etc. were flooded. They were forced to traverse dark hallways and stairways. Many are still suffering.

Given what happened in New York, why are we building high rises in tsunami/flood evacuation zones, including Kakako? The practice here is to locate mechanical and electrical systems at or below ground. We could suffer the same fate as New York when a superstorm or tsunami hits. It’s not a question of if, but when. In addition, the practice of building mostly glass edifices with almost no open windows or balconies will result in loss of fresh air and air conditioning, creating life-stifling conditions.

Until the building code is strengthened, we should move slowly, very slowly.

Lynne Matusow Honolulu, HI