The Arts District

Mid-century modern buildings

This 12 block area in Honolulu’s Old Town and Chinatown – bordered by N. Beretania, Bishop, Nimitz and the Nu’uanu river – boasts a lot of architecture from the end of the 19th century and is home to a vibrant arts scene including many galleries, restaurants, clubs and theaters.

Among the area’s mostly 1 and 2-story commercial structures are a handful of mid-century modern buildings that deserve a shout out… click on addresses below for Google Map locations.

Marks Garage (1159 Nuuanu Ave.) – Designed by Ken Roehrig in 1957 to help with downtown Honolulu’s parking shortage, this unique curved corner structure showcases cast stone vertical fins on its upper parking deck floors while ground level retail features angled windows and natural lava rock. Marks Garage was the first multi-level parking lot in the city.

C.Q. Yee Hop Plaza (101 N. King Street ) – Currently occupied by the Chinatown branch of Bank of Hawaii (among other retail and offices) this 5-story mid-rise building by Peter Hsi, circa 1965, adheres to the International Style but with its own Asian influence clearly visible.

Liberty Bank Building (99 N. King Street) – The American Savings Bank now takes up space in this 4-story early International Style office building which was designed by Vladimir Ossipoff in 1951. It too includes flourishes that tie itself to its Chinatown community including subtle Asian motif banner decorations atop paired columns at its King Street main entrance. Photo above by Mike Gushard, Share Alike License.

One South King Building (33 S. King Street ) – This mid-rise commercial building that once again reflects the use of the International Style on modern structures in this area – but with subtle vertical fins jazzing up its glass facade – is curiously not located at the address of its namesake – One South King – but rather at 33 South King, hmm? Built circa 1960.

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Tagged In Architecture,Building,C.Q. Yee Hop PLaza,first hawaiian bank,hawaii,Honolulu,Ken Roehrig,liberty bank building,marks garage,MCM,Mid Century Modern,Modernism,peter hsi,Retro,Vintage and vladimir ossipoff

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