Kō‘ula, United States

Studio Gang Designs a Sugarcane-Inspired Tower for Hawaii


Studio Gang has revealed a new design for a 41-story tower in Hawaii that's inspired by the island’s native red sugar cane. Designed with a mix of ground floor retail and 565 residences above, the tower is called Kō‘ula. Embracing indoor-outdoor living and Hawaii's climate, the project is oriented to ocean views with vertical columns that bend and twist like sugar cane. The tower is part of a larger development underway in the Ward Village district on Oahu’s south shore.

The 60-acre master plan for Ward Village is organized by the Howard Hughes Corporation and will include restaurants, shops, and high-rise residential towers as a LEED platinum–certified community. The village will be built with 4,500 residences and close to one million square feet of retail spaces. Kō‘ula will be located just off Ward Village’s central plaza. Studio Gang founder Jeanne Gang said that, "we worked very closely on the overall master plan for the whole development and coordinating with landscape architects and the owner to make spaces that are larger scale civic type spaces and more intimate spaces that are shared." Studio Gang's tower will be in close proximity to a yoga studio, outdoor cinema space, and farmers market.

As for the tower itself, Gang added that, “the structure is this kind of changing vertical kō‘ula, which is one of the plants that’s native to Hawaii. The way they move and twist is very beautiful, so the vertical columns respond in that way.” Kō‘ula is designed with one to three bedrooms units that will range in size from 300 to 1,500 square feet. The tower connects to a porte cochere from the lobby, which in turn will open onto an expansive courtyard. The project will feature natural materials, colors and tones that frame views out across the island and the ocean.

Kō‘ula is set to begin construction in 2019.

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