Dept. of Accounting and General Services, State of Hawaii


Mason Architects




Honolulu, Hawaii


Washington Place was built in 1847 and is the historic residence of the Governor of Hawaii. The building is a two-story wooden structure with a basement and functions both as a museum and as a place for official state functions.

Client Benefits

Over the past decade BASE has provided existing condition assessments, structural repair details and full structural engineering drawings for renovations of the historic structure.  Experience with older, historic structural systems and materials allowed BASE to efficiently verify the load carrying capacity of the second floor structure and provide strengthening recommendations.  The strengthening work is designed to coincide with interior upgrades and be completed without impact to the historically sensitive portions of the building.        

The Science and Design of Structural Engineering

All columns for the ground floor lanai were badly deteriorated due to a combination of wood rot and termite infestation.  The challenge was to design a structural repair that addressed both the immediate stability concerns and future durability without impacting the historic finishes cladding the columns.  The repair solution consisted of adding new elevated concrete pedestals that fit inside the architectural cavity of the column.  The interior damaged wood members of the existing columns were removed and replaced.  Access was gained by carefully removing the existing original façade, which was fully reinstalling after the structural work was completed.  Aesthetically, the end product appears identical to the original, however the new internal structural additions provide enhanced resistance to standing water and termite damage in the future.