University of Hawaii


CDS International


Swinerton Builders


Honolulu, Hawaii


This $71 million, 197,000 SF, 810-bed dormitory is located on the University of Hawaii campus in Honolulu. The structure includes 12 stories and two student lounges, and features suite-style accommodations with a maximum of four students per suite in single and double rooms with shared compartmented baths. Functional spaces include a social lounge, fitness center, game room, vending areas, computer room, small group study rooms, a 75-person conference room, student laundry, storage areas, management offices, trash/recycling rooms and a separate moped storage building. The new building is designed to be sustainable and energy-efficient, using air tunnels to minimize air conditioning use, and was recently LEED Silver certified.

The structure replaced the old Frear Hall, which was built in 1952 and had not housed students since 1997 when it was closed after the development of severe plumbing and electrical problems. The new building is the first new dormitory on campus in 30 years, and the first University of Hawaii project to be LEED Silver certified.

The Science and Design of Structural Engineering

BASE achieved a 31% reduction in concrete material and 18% reduction in reinforced material by using a post-tensioned structural system instead of the conventionally reinforced system typically used on campus. The project received an Innovation in Design point toward LEED certification because of this significant reduction in use of materials.

Client Benefits

The structural design satisfied one of the core tenets of sustainable design: the efficient use and preservation of resources. The reduced material requirements also resulted in client savings, leaving funds available for other important architectural and sustainable design requirements.