Lanai Theater

In 2014 MAI was employed to restore the original, gable-roofed building (that has been significantly renovated in the 1930s, in the 1970s, and then again c1990), while renovating the interior to provide:

  • two 98-seat, state-of-the art theater spaces
  • a new interior concession area within the footprint of the original building
  • new toilet rooms
  • and support spaces in a new addition on the back

This project combined exterior restoration of elements with significant interior adaptive reuse requirements, which presented challenges to the exterior restoration goals. Some of these included:

  • Inserting two theaters in the space meant that the one on the mauka side had to extend below the exterior siding level. This was hidden behind lattice work;
  • Windows were uncovered and restored, but were shadow boxed on the interior to keep light and sound out of the theaters;
  • The front entry walk, originally built of wood, was replaced in board-patterned (stamped) concrete to provide durability. Side railings were designed to recall the 1930s railings.
  • A new accessible path was provided to the building as far from 7th Street as possible to reduce the visual impact of the ramp;
  • The addition to the back was held back from the Lāna‘i Avenue and Koele Street facades of the building to avoid changing those elevations;

The interior design goal was to provide a contemporary appearance and performance while maintaining the connection to the scale, texture and material appropriate to this historic plantation town.

  • HABS documentation was done to record the extant conditions prior to renovations;
  • The building was air conditioned as part of the sound proofing exercise and for comfort;
  • A projection room was required for the two theaters, and was built above the new concession area.
  • Metal siding transmitted outside sound, making soundproofing a major challenge. This was accomplished by building a new interior wall of double layers of gypsum board with sound film separation, and acoustical panels line every wall as well as the ceilings;
  • The space between the new interior walls and the existing exterior walls also provided space to hide speakers throughout the room. None of each theaters’ 26 speakers in are visible;
  • Fire sprinkler and alarm systems, and new security were added, all done as subtly as possible;
  • Fire exits were created at existing doors, which required compensation for level changes internally to meet exiting requirements without altering the exterior.

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Photography: David Franzen