The finest example of Gothic Revival architecture in Hawaii, St. Andrew's Cathedral was under construction for almost one hundred years. King Kamehameha V laid its cornerstone in 1867, dedicating the building to the memory of his brother, King Kamehameha IV, who had died on St. Andrew's day. The choir and a portion of the nave, built of English and Hawaiian sandstone, were not completed until 1886, at which time services commenced in the building. The first two bays of the nave were completed two years later, and the congregation decided to omit the transepts called for in the original plan. Further expansion occurred after the turn of the twentieth century with the addition of another two bays in 1908 as well as Davies Hall in 1906–1910, which housed the vestry and meeting rooms and was connected to the cathedral by a handsome cloister. The imposing four-story bell tower was completed in 1912. Davies Hall and the bell tower were designed by B. F. Ingelow, who had worked on the original drawings for the cathedral. These additions are in a local sandstone, their rusticated walls contrasting with the dressed stone that frames openings, marks corners, and tops buttresses. Both the tower and cloistered Davies Hall deviated from the original plan, as did Tenney Auditorium and Parke Memorial Chapel, which were added in 1940, following the designs of C. W. Dickey. Finally, in 1958, two more bays were added to the nave, as well as a vestibule and the great west window. The two bays and vestibule are of reinforced concrete with a local sandstone veneer. The 50 × 20–foot front window, one of the largest in the nation, depicts the history of Christianity and was executed by John Wallis of Pasadena, California. The lower right section denotes the history of the Anglican Church in Hawaii, and includes an image of a termite, whose destruction of the former wooden entrance was the impetus for the work in 1958. Wallis also executed the windows in the last two bays. The other stained glass in the nave and clerestory was the product of Clayton and Bell, one of the foremost stained glass studios in England during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The stained glass windows contribute to the awe-inspiring interior with its massive columns, Gothic vaulting, and ambulatory with pierced stone apsidal screens. The baptismal font carved from Caen stone was a gift of Lady Jane Franklin, the widow of Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin and friend of Queen Emma. She had sent the font for the christening of Queen Emma's son, Albert Edward Leiopapa Kauikeaouli, the Prince of Hawaii. Unfortunately, the four-year-old child died before the arrival of either the font or Bishop Staley, who had traveled from England with the express purpose of establishing the Anglican Church in Hawaii and baptizing the prince. The high altar, pulpit, and lectern follow the font's lead, employing Caen stone. The pulpit (1913) is a replica of the pulpit in St. John's American Church in Dresden, Germany, only with St. Andrew depicted rather than St. John. The bases and capitals of the nave's columns depict Hawaiian flora, including tree ferns, papaya, hala, and breadfruit. These are the work of local sculptor E. Raphael Marrozi. The vestibule walls are adorned with four, British-made, marble opus sectiles, three by Jones and Willis, and one by Karl Parsons. The statue of St. Andrew installed in 1958 overlooking an exterior rectangular fountain in front of the church is the work of Ivan Mestrovic.
Carpenter and Slater was a prominent British architectural firm that designed a number of Anglican churches throughout what was then the British Empire, including the cathedral in Columbo, Sri Lanka.