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First Presbyterian Church of Honolulu (Koolau Golf Clubhouse)
Enveloped by fifteen thousand acres of greenery with the towering Koolau Mountains in the background, the stuccoed, reinforced-concrete clubhouse integrates well with its site. The building is defined by a series of receding low-pitched, hipped roofs, and its two-story height is minimized by a below-grade first floor. Lanai, terraces, and floor-to-ceiling mauka glass walls offer ample interaction with the environment. A two-story skylit atrium planted with hapuu and rhapis palms, and featuring a tiled fountain, brings a sense of the exterior inside. The 240-acre, Dick Nugent and J. Tuthill–designed golf course further contributes to the setting. Its rugged landscape, large sand bunkers, and occasional ravines make it one of the world's more challenging courses.
The property, developed by Minami Investment Corporation of Japan, was built at a time when Japanese investment in Hawaii was high, with golf course development being one of the favored activities. The Koolau course was one of the larger projects undertaken, running well over budget and needing 556 piles to give the clubhouse a solid foundation in the unexpectedly unstable soil conditions. When the economic bubble burst in Japan in the early 1990s, the property was foreclosed and eventually sold for less than one-sixth of the costs incurred by Minami. In 2006, the First Presbyterian Church of Honolulu purchased the property, and in January 2007 opened the facility as Hawaii's first church/golf clubhouse.
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