Civic Space Inspired by Hawaiian Alignments: Creating a Hawaiian Presence in Puu O Kapolei

Ancheta, Marion
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
The spirit of a place is an important element among communities, especially in those cultures that have a strong connection with the cosmos. Many ancient civilizations used the stars as referential in the placement of their structures and performing spiritual rituals among those spaces, such as the Egyptians aligning their Giza pyramid with the Orion star constellation. In The Orion Mystery: Unlocking the Secrets of the Pyramids, Robert Bauval discovers that the pyramid location had a strong connection between the dead king Osiris and the constellation of Orion.1 The importance of why the Egyptians did this was reflected in Bauval’s theory that there was spiritual knowledge that enlightened the pyramid builders, creating a portal between earth and the heavens. Similarly, the ancient Hawaiians have placed and built most of their temples, or heiau, to align with the sun's solstice and equinox at strategic locations. Globally, there are many ancient structures that are aligned with the celestial sky, taking examples from the Forbidden City in China, to the ancient Mayan city of Uxmal. Most of these monuments themselves were built for the rulers but also functioned as a civic space that invoked a central power. In the contemporary built environment, the notion of a civic space has evolved into an extension of a community, becoming a public realm of cultural activities and knowledge. The question arises: Do these spaces invoke a traditional and cultural perspective of the indigenous culture? Case studies such as the Uluru Kata-Tjuta Cultural Center in Australia, describes the importance of indigenous culture integration within a civic space. The recognition of native culture is mostly absent in today's perception of the built environment, especially in Hawai`i. This project attempts reconciliation between traditional Hawaiian knowledge of spatial elements, cultural significance, and the tangible and intangible structure of a heiau, and align it with the modern civic space. Methods that accomplish these tasks include historical research, interviews, logical argumentation and case studies. The resulting collective data establishes a set of programs for designing a Hawaiian civic space.
Access Rights
Email if you need this content in ADA-compliant format.