Union Staton

Union Station 2020 is an international design ideas competition for the conversion of Chicago’s Union Station into a high-speed rail hub, market and meeting place.

Project narrative:
Town planning by mathematical repetition of land squares organized along two orthogonal axes, cardus (Main Street) and decumanus (Tenth Street), has been a successful model for many American cities poised to become 20th century metropolises.


Unlike the more sophisticated plan of Savannah, rich in thematic variations based on sound military practices, Chicago, also founded as a military camp, quickly grew into a purely economic model through strict adherence to the repetitive rule. The paradoxical shortcomings inherent in theoretical mathematical solutions are evident in the two city blocks occupied by Union Station.

Although programmatic and humanistic requirements would have necessitated a search for spatial variations on the gridiron theme with a large tract of land set aside for its development, the solution to Union Station was instead found by technological means, e.g., subterranean rail & automobile service and underground pedestrian connections joining two distinct, glass covered public spaces depressed below grade, so fantastically engineered as to justify themselves, yet obfuscating the historical compromises. The fact that one of the two original spaces has been demolished and we are still trying to resolve the conundrum, only elucidates the paradox.

Given the inevitability of the historical premises, our proposal also avails itself of technological means and engineering histrionics, such as the inclined elevators connecting the concourse basements and street level market on the eastern block with the Convention and Hotel sky lobby floor on the top of the western block across Canal Street.

However, by placing the train station Lobby at street level, with river views and access to the outdoors, on one side, and by filling with the Market the entire ground level on the other, we searched to restore the human dimension with appropriate monumental scale.

The historical façade of the “Grand Hall” is maintained for its templar static quality in emphatic contrast to the dramatic effect of the proposed superstructure across the street, which, like a “projecting canopy” covering the entire rectilinear plaza in front of the station, leans as if to bridge an impossible chasm.

The robotic parking and other programmatic elements—convention, office, and market functions—are nested like Russian dolls into the “Grand Hall” without touching its envelope, as if suspended above the market with the Amphitheater at its core. In contrast, the Auditorium—visible from the bridge, Jackson Boulevard, the river, and the station lobby—is conceived as a distinct, recognizable, floating vessel placed almost outside the project limits as an urban point of reference.

We searched to resolve Union Station by artistic composition. Like the grand experiment of the Sistine Chapel, which turned traditional pictorial composition upside down by floating the mass of color (The Last Judgment) and reduced the middle of the picture to a white void to be filled by the imagination (The Creation of Adam), the Pindaric flight of the inclined elevators aims to transcend mere connectivity by becoming a charged spark between two sides of a whole, suspended in space and destined to remain in opposition.

Maui Ocean Center Planetarium

Pacific Atelier was recommissioned by Maui Ocean Center to create a new Planetarium and Exhibition Room in 2017. It will be the future educational center of humpback whales. Construction is projected to complete in 2018.

Oahu Residence

Pacific Atelier was commissioned to design this Oahu Residence located in Aiea. This is a two-generation house that allows the senior parent to enjoy her daily activities on the ground floor and privacy for the adult children on the upper floor. They share the kitchen, living/dining area with a large lanai, where they hang out in the evening.

Dole Plantation

Pacific Atelier were commissioned by Castle & Cooke to provide a 17,000-square-feet retail expansion including a Dole whip bar and grill, coffee mill, retail space, restrooms, storage, and back of house. The design featured a continuation of the contemporary plantation style of the original building with some European twists. The goal was to enhanced the visitors’ experiences of the plantation days.

Ko Olina Marina

Ko Olina Marina was designed in phases starting in 1999. Located at Lagoon number IV, the Marina is touted as Hawaii’s most exclusive marina facility. Continuing plans include ocean promenade, over 300 slips, a harbor master building, picnic areas and mariners’ amenities.
Related Projects: Ko Olina Entry Gate, Ko Olina Main Entry Building, Ko Olina Maintenance Building, Ko Olina Comfort Stations Renovation, Ko Olina Sales Center, Ko Olina Ocean Tower, Ko Olina Harbor Master

Honu Kai Lani

This wedding chapel on the waterfront of Ko Olina Lagoon II includes a reception building, greeting pavilion and new chapel facility in a fusion of oceanic and modern design sensibilities. The three-building project is anchored by a uniquely designed A-frame wedding chapel incorporating architectural tube steel, an apex aluminum-framed skylight, and 8-by-10 foot glass panes — the largest fabricated in the U.S. in 2010 — and features an unobstructed view of the infinity pool and ocean beyond.

Urban Housing Development

Urban Housing Development

This project involves restoration of the existing Honolulu Advertiser Building and designing two mixed-use high-rise mixed-use buildings and parking structures. As the projected is located in the Kakaako District, Pacific Atelier assisted in preparing design drawings and documents to Hawaii Community Development Authority. The design includes 792 dwelling units, reserve housing and commercial spaces. Move cursor over the image to see before and after

El Capricho

El Capricho

Pacific Atelier entered an international design competition for a Contemporary Art Museum in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The design echoes to the vibrant and fun dance of Tango with a series of dynamic architectural forms, ranging from an open cone, ribbon-weaving facade, ribbed roof and waving ceiling. It also creates a dialogue with the adjacent Puente de la Mujer bridge and Casa Rosada. Natural day-lighting plays an important role in the exhibition galleries. Diffused light from various directions create very interesting quality for the interior.

Kulana Hale

Pacific Atelier was contracted by a private developer to design a 15-story building in Honolulu. This highrise housed 175 units for the elderly and the physically-challenged. Working with a multiplicity of government agencies, engineering consultants, and the State Commission for Persons with Disabilities, Pacific Atelier produced a practical and fully-accessibility-compliant structure.

Maui Ocean Center

Pacific Atelier was retained in June, 1996 for Maui’s first marine life theme park with seven major buildings housing tank exhibits, display areas, restaurant, retail shop, and administration office. The different uses demanded coordinating and detailing extremely complex interactions; Pacific Atelier was chosen from a field of five firms.

Outrigger Fairway Villas

Sunstone Realty Partners commissioned Pacific Atelier to produce island living, resort-style town homes for the upper end visitor market. The project was designed as two phases consisting of four building types, 15 building, 165 units, and a total area of 283,000 square feet.

Kam Residence

Pacific Atelier was commissioned to design the Kam Residence located on the hillside slope of Aina Haina valley. To accommodate for the needs of this growing family, this 3,400-square-feet-home featured a basement wine cellar and a playroom. Also, the study room was thoughtfully positioned where it can visually monitor the main rooms of the house. The result was both elegant and practical.

Pacific Atelier International ( PAI ) was founded in 1995 with a commission for a 17-story independent living facility resulting in numerous awards and recognition from the state and city for it’s contribution to our community’s seniors. Since then Pacific Atelier has grown into an internationally diverse firm with projects ranging from high-end residential homes to some of Hawaii’s most famous and highly visited facilities including the Maui Ocean Center, and the Dole Plantation’s New Store Expansion.

We believe that, because we do not try to superimpose an ideology of building or consistency of style thus imposing ourselves on our client, our “ways of understanding” and “ways of seeing” give us the methodology to address all aspects of architecture in their specificity no matter the scale or the budget.

Unlike the familiar image of unity of the machine, architecture for us retains the complexities of life with its continuous renewal of individual and collective aspirations.

We are Pacific Atelier.

735 Bishop Street, Suite 309
Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96813

Tel 808.533.3688

hannah@PacificAtelier.com

www.PacificAtelier.com