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A dramatic canopy rebrands a local landmark

June 1st, 2020 / By: / Feature

By Bruce N. Wright, FAIA

In downtown Honolulu Harbor, the Aloha Tower Marketplace is one of Hawaii’s most famous landmarks. While it was completed in 1994 as part of a comprehensive revitalization project for a part of the city that had become distant from the center of business and tourist activity, it took a private developer and the Hawaii Pacific University (HPU) to pump new energy into the area. 

A $30-million redevelopment and extensive facelift to the older building was undertaken by HPU in 2011 and completed in 2015. Aloha Tower Marketplace now serves as an anchor for the university’s core downtown campus. HPU’s efforts included transforming the building into a mixed-use complex with retail, restaurants and student dormitories. A focal point is the Old Spaghetti Factory, a favorite restaurant of locals. 

The building needed an extensive facelift and renovation throughout, including the addition of a major shade structure fronting the restaurant to command the plaza. The tensile canopy attracts tourists and local customers, literally rebranding the front façade of the building with a stunning red fabric canopy designed, fabricated and installed by Tropical J’s Inc. of Honolulu. The renovation included more than the massive 54- by 32-foot bright poppy-red edge-tensioned fabric structure; it also included a total refurbishment of the façade and interior. 

The Old Spaghetti Factory has helped revitalize a favorite gathering spot for tourists and locals alike. It has proved to be “a revenue-generating machine as well as an iconic addition to one of Hawaii’s most famous landmarks,” says Gary Barnes, co-owner and CEO of Tropical J’s.  

Project details 

Old Spaghetti Factory at Aloha Tower Marketplace, Honolulu, Hawaii
Client: Hawaii Pacific University
Design/fabrication/Installation: Tropical J’s Inc., Honolulu
Fabric: Precontraint 502, Serge Ferrari North America Inc.

Bruce N. Wright, FAIA, is an architect and consultant to architects. He is a senior instructor at Dunwoody College of Technology and frequent contributor to IFAI publications.