Employees and visitors parking at KS’ Kawaiaha‘o Plaza headquarters will soon enjoy some cultural enlightenment as they make their way through the complex’s parking structure. Work is beginning this month on long overdue improvements to the structure’s signage to honor the surrounding lands and improve overall safety.
Senior Program Capital Manager Allison Yue of the KS Facilities and Development Support Division says there’s a reason that the look to the fonts, colors and overall design of the current structure can best be described as “groovy.”
“The wayfinding and graphics in our parking garage are original to the structure which was built in the 1970s, hence the outdated look,” Yue said. “Over time, the wayfinding, signage and parking stall identification have been painted and repainted over so many times that it’s really become a hot mess and can be confusing.”
It’s also become a safety issue. New signage is expected to clearly identify the various types of parking: handicapped, visitor, reserved and unreserved.
“When pedestrians are confused as to where the elevators and stairs are located, they walk up and down the ramps instead of taking the stairs, which creates a safety risk for everyone.”
The majority of work will be done at night and on weekends. Yue and Facilities Director Bob Shiroma will coordinate communication with KP staff through regular email updates as the project progresses. The improvements are expected to be completed by June 2018.
Yue said the most unique aspect of the project was the opportunity afforded to FDSD to support Goal 3 of SP2020 – “Native Hawaiian identity.” The design concept behind the updated graphics represents various aspects of the area in and around Kawaiahaʻo Plaza.
“The inspiration for the new parking garage signage centers on the social and historical characteristics of our ‘ili ‘āina (land section) of Ka‘ākaukukui. During the Māhele, the ‘ili was awarded to Victoria Kamāmalu, granddaughter of Kamehameha ‘Ekahi and sister to Alexander Liholiho and Lot Kapuāiwa. It was well-known for its loko i‘a, loko pa‘akai, pili, and for its natural beauty," Yue said.
Yue credited WCIT Architects and designer Reyn Mukawa for conducting the research to support the design concepts, as well as the wayfinding and signage aspects of the project.
“We also presented the project to the KS Hoʻokahua Cultural Vibrancy Group, and they were excited and supportive,” she said. “We’re a Native Hawaiian organization, and we should reflect that identity in everything we do, even in something as simple as refreshing the look of our parking garage.”