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Mitigating heat and courting shade for shoppers in Hawaii

Features | July 1, 2019 | By:

By Bruce N. Wright, AIA

Shade is often one of the most important design considerations for public venues in Hawaii, especially on the leeward (away from the wind) side of an island. Such is the case on Oahu, where the Ka Makana Ali‘i shopping center is located. 

A center court at the recently built Ka Makana retail center needed heat and solar mitigation against the occasionally sweltering heat buildup. Local fabricator Tropical J’s Inc. proposed a system of tensioned cables across the courtyard with 68 fabric mesh panels of varying sizes to block the strong Pacific sun’s rays.

Printed with graphics incorporating traditional Hawaiian motifs, the PVC-coated polyester mesh panels are suspended on horizontally tensioned steel cables that can easily be retracted or extended as needed. The cables also are designed to be released after all the panels are retracted in case of severe winds of 105 mph or greater or hurricanes. 

The cables are attached to the shopping center’s existing structural frame beams with an added freestanding post-and-beam support in the center of the courtyard. This approach extends coverage where most customers gather while keeping sight lines clear for storefront signage.

This project won an Award of Excellence in IFAI’s 2018 International Achievement Awards competition. 

Fabrication/installation/project management:Tropical J’s Inc.
Engineer:Ian N. Robertson, PhD, PE INR
Graphics:Hagadone Printing Co.
Fabric:Soltis® 92, from Serge Ferrari North America Inc.

Bruce N. Wright, AIA, is an architect, teacher, consultant to architects and designers and a frequent contributor to Specialty Fabrics Review, Fabric Architectureand Advanced Textiles Source.

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