The Hawaii Convention Center is leading the way towards a new kind of convention center environment. Located at the gateway to Waikiki, the 1.1 million-square-foot convention center embodies a modern “Hawaiian Sense of Place” on a 10-acre site, with its double pitched Hawaiian roof, soaring canopies recalling Polynesian canoe sails, and steel beams resembling palm trees. It has been the recipient of numerous awards for its innovative design, including being voted the most beautiful convention center in the world by the International Association of Exhibition and Events (IAEE).

The main structure is framed of structural steel on a pre-stressed pile foundation with a tension glass wall system. A “super truss” system offers the support for the ground floor to house the 200,000-square-foot registration lobby and exhibition area. The spacious 805-vehicle parking lot opens to a view of the ocean and palm trees, sitting on the second floor of the building. The third-floor houses fifty meeting rooms totaling 104,000 square feet and two full-sized amphitheaters that seat more than 300 people each. The 36,000-square-foot ballrooms on the fourth floor include a foyer lookout to the 2.5-acre rooftop garden, terrace, and water feature.

This design-build project was the largest single construction contract undertaken by the State of Hawaii at the time. The winning contractor and architect team was selected through an international competition in which the public was able to vote. As such, Nordic PCL had to guarantee costs based solely on the competition drawings which were developed in just over two months. Despite a tight schedule of only 750 working days, the facility was turned over on budget and a month ahead of schedule.

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