Along the mauka side of the street and hidden behind two old buildings, 3470 Waialae Avenue is a diamond in the rough. This brand-new commercial complex houses a wealth management company and a dental clinic. The unique structure was built on a suspended slab to include a parking lot below street level.
Constructors Hawaii Inc. and architect Geoffrey Lewis Architects, Inc. teamed to solve the project’s biggest challenge of ensuring constant access to the site. One of two existing driveways, too narrow at 10 feet wide, was transformed into a pedestrian walkway. A new second driveway was created by tunneling through one of the existing buildings by knocking down walls and cutting out the building slab. This tunnel allowed for two means of access to the jobsite. Tunnel height, limited to height of the 2nd floor building slab, was fortunately tall enough for a large forklift to haul materials in and out of the job site.
In addition, new underground utilities were installed in both driveways, so ground work had to be coordinated to keep one driveway open for vehicular traffic.
Serving as an entry driveway to the new complex, the new tunnel blends into the appearance of the original building. For its ingenious design, 3470 Waialae received an AIA 2016 Honorable Mention.