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Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Submillimeter Array

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2003, Urban Works. 645 Aohoku Pl.
  • (Photograph by Augie Salbosa)
  • (Photograph by Augie Salbosa)
  • (Photograph by Augie Salbosa)
  • (Photograph by Augie Salbosa)

This building conveys modernity through the articulated structural supports of its balconies and roofs and the skewed roofline. The interior has an open beam, vaulted ceiling, exposed ducts, dropped lighting, and perforated stainless steel grillework. The structure houses the offices, workshops, and laboratories of the staff for the submillimeter array (SMA) on Mauna Kea, and, like the Subaru building (HA46.3), includes a remote operations center to allow full operation of the summit's observatory equipment from Hilo. The SMA is cutting-edge technology which studies the submillimeter band of the electromagnetic spectrum between visible and radio wavelengths. The submillimeter array is a joint project undertaken by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and Taiwan's Academia Sinica Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Lorrin Matsunaga and John J. Ida, both of whom attended the University of Washington, founded Urban Works in 1984. Other works by this Honolulu-based firm include the John Young Museum of Art in Krauss Hall (OA122.2), the Manana Community Center and Park (2000; 1310 Waimano Home Road), Honolulu Fire Department Headquarters (2006; 636 South Street), and Mid-Pacific Institute's Elementary School (2005; 2445 Kaala Street), all on Oahu.

Writing Credits

Don J. Hibbard


What's Nearby


Don J. Hibbard, "Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Submillimeter Array", [Hilo, Hawaii], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Hawaii

Buildings of Hawaii, Don J. Hibbard. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2011, 270-270.

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