Museum-Quality Art in a Modern, Custom-Built Architectural Setting at First Hawaiian Bank


First Hawaiian Center, the tallest building in Hawaii rising nearly to 450 feet, is located on Bishop Street in downtown Honolulu. It is a symbolic center of Honolulu’s business community. Its stone facing mauka (land) side contrasts with the glass facing makai (water) side. The tower expands as it moves upwards, creating a prow like form reminiscent of a ship. Forty-three percent of building site is open space landscaped by Walters Kimura Motoda. Blocks of Jet Mist granite with hand split front surfaces and polished sides were used to compose the design of the fountains. ...Read More

The teller station areas on the ground floor immediately open to the atrium, which functions as a modern art museum available to the public. The exhibit areas were developed in close association with the Contemporary Museum to display works from their permanent collection. Along with the main banking hall, the gallery is a major component of the building’s podium and it continues on the second floor.

In offices for the First Hawaiian Bank, custom workstations extend the philosophy of the building’s public spaces into the smallest detail while at the same time conforming to the specific needs of the bank’s program and staff. Anigre and pear wood veneers, stainless steel and translucent glass continue from open work areas into private executive offices on the second floor. All furniture, lighting and wool carpeting are custom designed. In addition, the interiors package includes standard tenant specifications as well as a hair salon and a health club, both located in the third below-grade level of the building.

James Carpenter-designed art glass wall illuminates ceremonial stairs along Bishop Street side, in the three-story banking hall. The wall is constructed of two layers of glass: transparent, low-E glass for the outer skin and diffused (sandblasted) glass panels on the inside held in place by aluminum clips and extruded aluminum mullions. Inside, the glazed assembly is supported by pairs of 3/4-inch-thick beveled glass prisms that refract sunlight entering the atrium space. These vertical blades of clear glass create sharp highlights in the translucent wall. The wall is 48 feet high and 100 feet long.