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Lihue Theater Senior Apartments (Lihue Theater)

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Lihue Theater
1931, Louis Davis. 3-3194 Kuhio Hwy.

An ingenious, if not radical, adaptive reuse, the former Spanish Colonial–style theater with its hints of Art Deco ornament was converted into housing for the elderly in 1999 by architect Gary Canner. The facade and foyer of the former theater were retained, but the auditorium was replaced by a pair of three-story apartment wings with a courtyard in the middle. The modest Spanish-influenced facade focuses on the terra-cotta-embellished gable ornament, a potpourri of swags, garlands, Ionic capitals, atlantes, and grotesques. Original scallop shell light standards and urn fountains spouting sea creatures remain to preside over the lawns on either side of the entrance. The simple, mid-1930s marquee is now dormant, but the exterior, framed coming-attraction posters still suggest the allure of Hollywood. The tropical-flavored foyer remains intact with its painted ceiling and plaster frieze featuring banana leaves, ferns, gingers, and Kauai pheasants. This revitalized entrance, with a concrete floor scored to emulate slate, provides the apartments with an imposing lobby while celebrating the building's former use through reminders of the theater years mounted on the walls.

Writing Credits

Don J. Hibbard


What's Nearby


Don J. Hibbard, "Lihue Theater Senior Apartments (Lihue Theater)", [Lihue, 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, 67-67.

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