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Topa Financial Ctr
FlooringFor the lobby building, we finally came up with the thought that if we approximated the shape of a spirit house from one or the other of the Pacific Trust Territory islands, we would have something both appropriate in style and also a striking enough shape to form a signature for the hotel. Since the shape of these buildings was approximately that of a hyperbolic paraboloid, we discussed this with our engineer, Mr. Richard Bradshaw, and he agreed that building a building with a thin shell of wood was technically possible. After a great deal of discussion, we decided that it would be possible to build the building, using two or three layers of nominal 1 x 4 tongue and groove flooring. We had only the edges milled in tongue and groove configuration and left both of the flat sides unmilled to provide as much depth dimension as possible. The first two layers were laid over a framework of straight cut 2 x 12 placed on a scaffold to form a hyperbolic paraboloid and were nailed lightly to the 2 x 12s with 8 penny nails at 6" on center. Since the edges were the part of the structure which held the entire framework together, these were made out of bolted laminated timbers which were twisted to conform to the edges of the boards. The boards were bound to this external structural rib with continual angles top and bottom bolted into the laminated beam and through tongue and groove ceiling layers. The first two layers were put in place and then a membrane was mopped on the top of this surface and then another layer was placed on top to provide a visually pleasant surface. In order to emphasize the nature of this structure, the 1 x 4 tongue and grooves were laid up all in a pattern of redwood and Douglas fir, giving striped effect which is indeed pleasing and unusual.
Landscaping and Fencing
LandscapingWhen we were asked to design the Waikikian, as a small but rather up-market hotel, for Mr. Fred Dailey and the Los Angeles Athletic Club, we felt that it was incumbent upon us to provide an architecture that was an expression of the culture of the Islands and, further, an architecture of signature. As a Waikiki hotel, the building's primary users would be people attracted to the idea of Polynesia--informality, tropical landscaping, Pacific arts and crafts, and architecture appropriate to the climate, if not authentic reproduction of native habitat.
WalkwaysIt did take some fancy footwork, but all major trees were retained, and the building was designed to be a part of the forest rather than apart from it. We allowed the trees to dominate and the architecture to remain subordinate in statement. Ninety light brown stained concrete columns that support the building were cast in a mold made from a rose gum log, giving the columns a remarkably tree-like appearance. Balcony planters tend to obscure indoor-outdoor boundaries and contribute to a sense of being in the trees. Open walkways and notches also give guests "tree experiences" as do rustling tree sounds. All rooms have lanais and each enjoys either an ocean or garden view. The building wraps around the central court, which features a large lagoon-like swimming pool, which, like the building itself, weaves and notches to leave the trees undisturbed.
RoofingWhen the main building was conceived and we turned to design the other buildings, we knew that these had to be of fireproof construction. Because of the presence of wood in the main building, we felt that we should technically use mill construction which is essentially very heavy timber. We selected an A-frame as a basic structure of the building and used an infill of concrete bloc between the 6" members to form the party wall between all the rooms. This is technically a half-timber construction. On the exterior walls, the infill was Hawaiian lava rock, which we also used extensively in the garden area. The pitched roof formed by the A-frame was covered with cedar shingles and the flat roofs, of course, with mopped on felt and tar.
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