Wave Walls and the Women of Waiea

Overlooking the Ala Moana Beach Park in Honolulu,  the Wai​ea project​​ is an oceanfront 36-story luxury condominium housing 177 units. Waiea, meaning “water of life” in Hawaiian, will be the first residential tower in Ward Village, an integrated master-planned community near downtown Honolulu, known as Kakaako. Once complete, a wave-like curtain wall will traverse the exterior of the building, making for a breathtaking profile and one of the more technically challenging projects PCL builds.

The soon-to-be view for some of the Waiea
project’s residents.​

The Nordic PCL project team inspects
the progress on the installation of the
Diamond Head feature wall.

The use of virtual construction
technologies helped the Nordic PCL
team maintain a high quality of work
while placing more than 1,000 glasss

Making Waves

The exterior feature wall of the Waiea project, known as a Diamond Head, is comprised of segmented unitized curtain wall panels that are arranged to represent a fishing net cascading over the side of the structure. The design pays tribute to the ancient Hawaiian fishing village that Kakaako once was. This striking architectural feature is made up of more than 1,000 individual glass panels that form the wall’s wave-like appearance. The glass panels, each of a dissimilar size and at a different angle, make up the unique facade.

The glass that makes up Waiea’s Diamond Head wall appears smooth and seamless, like the ocean on a calm morning. However, with tolerances of less than three quarters of an inch in any direction, the Nordic PCL project team​ had to measure and place more than 2,000 steel supports within the concrete which accept the panels flawlessly. To counterbalance this tight tolerance, the project team utilized the BIM 360 Layout program which pulled directly from the model to ensure the exact locations of the glass segments and embedded steel before placing the concrete, saving time, and ensuring a high quality of work.

“The level of quality provided in the first units not only exceeded my expectations, but also the expectations of our world-renowned architect and interior designer, as they were told by peers this level of quality could not be achieved in Hawaii,” said Rob Centra, senior vice president, Design and Construction Management, The Howard Hughes Corporation. “This is a true testament to the management and quality audit/quality control programs implemented by Nordic PCL, which has generated much excitement not only within my organization, but within the community.”

The Women of Waiea

Dynamic teams are needed to lead dynamic projects like Waiea. Led by construction manager Scott Viola, general superintendent Joe Stout, and project managers Danyelle Kahanaoi and Chuck O’Neill, the Nordic PCL project team is made up 27% of women, in stark contrast to the industry average of 9%, as reported by the National Association for Women in Construction​​. Ranging from project manager to virtual construction technician, the women working on Waiea are in a diverse set of operational roles.  

“It is encouraging and inspiring to see the diversity and increase in women wanting to be a part of the construction industry these days,” said Danyelle Kahanaoi, Nordic PCL project manager. “Everyone brings something new to the table and I am both humbled and honored to be a part of this project team at Waiea.”

The project is on track to be complete in October 2016, and the team is proud to continue working on exceeding client expectations.

“From BIM administration to scheduling, to strong project management, the women working with Nordic PCL on the Waiea project are integral to one of the strongest project teams I’ve worked with in Hawaii,” said Jon Moore, director, Design and Construction Management, The Howard Hughes Corporation. ​​​​​​​