This hawaiian canoe halau (boat house) was the first project I worked on in Hawaii when I landed on Oahu, but not the first one to be built. I was the project architect while working at AKTA, Ltd. for this canoe halau in Ala Moana Beach Park. Located near an existing boat ramp on the Ewa side of the Waikiki Yacht Club, it was a public parks and recreation community improvement project. The canoe halau was site adaptation of the Hawaii Kai Canoe Halau commissioned by the City and County of Honolulu for Hawaiian paddlers in the area serving Ala Moana, Kakaako and Waikiki. There are many active canoe halaus using the area then and now, as this location is in the heart of the city. Designed in 2003, the City and County of Honolulu never awarded the bid in the first round of bidding in 2004. I was unsure it would get built and was happily surprised to find it under construction one day while riding my bicycle by the park.
I thought the best way to look at the halau was as a kind of heiau (temple) to the great tradition of polynesian canoeing that was the foundation for human settlement of both the Hawaiian Islands, and throughout the rest of Polynesia and Oceania. Traditional Hawaiian canoes made of koa and rope needed a safe place to rest in one of the busiest and most occupied beaches in all of the islands. It is a classic structure in form with a pyramidal roof and a square in plan, opening on both the front and the back to allow easy access to the interior racks hung off of steel columns.