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University of Hawaii Federal Credit Union

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1997, Group 70 International, design architect Norman Hong. 2019 S. King St.
  • (Photograph by Kaoru Lovett)
  • (Photograph by Kaoru Lovett)

Confined between two buildings in the middle of a block and constrained by a narrow, deep lot, the credit union contrarily emphasizes openness and light. Slightly set back from the street, the three-story building's pastel Postmodern facade sets forth traditional classically inspired banking institution signifiers and does little to prepare a visitor for the regionally inflected, wood frame interior. Flooded with natural light from a central skylight and banks of windows at both ends, the lengthy interior presents a vibrant interplay of intricately connected horizontal and vertical spaces. The three-story front lobby and the lightwell that runs the length of the building create a spacious as well as luminous interior. Sliding glass doors open the building to a third-floor, rear lanai. The upper floor's thirty-foot-high vaulted ceiling adds a soaring sense of modest monumentality.

Norman Hong was a founding member of Group 70 International, joining the firm which emerged out of an architectural think tank formed by Gus Ishihara and Gordon Tyau in 1970. Their first project was the University of Hawaii's Art Building (1975), in association with Walter Tagawa. Through working on the Art Building, university architect Francis Oda became acquainted with Group 70 and joined the firm in 1973. The firm has established a reputation for designing buildings sensitive to Hawaii. Other works include The Lodge at Koele (LA10), Manele Bay Hotel (LA11), Hanauma Bay Marine Education Center (OA163), Nanea Golf Clubhouse (HA78), and Kamehameha Schools' Maui campus (1999, 2002) at Pukalani.

Writing Credits

Don J. Hibbard


What's Nearby


Don J. Hibbard, "University of Hawaii Federal Credit Union", [Honolulu, 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, 155-156.

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