To View the Pu'ukohola Heiau

Kamehameha I constructed the heiau for his war god, Kuka'ilimoku, and on it sacrificed his chief rival for dominion over the island of Hawai‘i. The heiau on the north Kohala coast was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1972. Mason Architects sited and designed the low-profile Visitor Center to maximize views yet minimize its own visibility from the heiau.

  • Built of lava rock with a low curving roof, the Visitor Center follows the contours of the hillside and blends into its environment.
  • Its large exterior viewing area is protected from the sun, wind, and rain by a broad sloping roof and a large roll-up door over the opening.
  • Behind the viewing area are spaces for audio/visual presentations, exhibits, sales/information, administrative offices, and storage.
  • The adjacent comfort station, partially built into the hillside, is ventilated by a wind scoop and lighted by ventilating skylights; waterless urinals further conserve resources at the site.

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Award: Members' Choice Award from AIA, Honolulu Chapter, 2007.


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Photography: David Franzen, MAI

The building blends into the landscape.