Auberge at Mauna Lani

RIM served as Architect of Record for the newly opened Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection, located on the Kona Coast of the Island of Hawaii. As the first Auberge Resorts property in the Aloha State, this popular, luxury hotel has experienced up to 100% occupancy during its first few weeks of reopening. The redesigned resort is sited on 32 oceanside acres and offers three distinct pools, five restaurants, two golf courses, a fitness center, a spa and wellness center, and various outdoor programs.

The famous Canoe House, which is the resort’s iconic signature restaurant, was largely preserved structurally, maintaining the large volume ceilings and heavy timber beams. The interior and exterior spaces, including the central bar, are completely new with a wide range of casual seating opportunities and exquisite décor. The Canoe House is recognized as the kitchen where modern Hawaiian cuisine pioneer Alan Wong made his mark. Canoe House is carrying on this tradition under Chef Matt Raso.

RIM’s in-house team included David McVeigh, Principal-in-Charge, Brent Wiese, Project Manager; Eric Nelson, On- Site Construction Administrator; Molly Logelin; Jagit Riyait, Jamie Busch, Dana Aiken, Louie Garcia, and Leo Bisarra, Jr., and a host of RIM’s talented designers, technicians, and support staff. The team was supported by 16 other outside consultants.

We asked Eric Nelson, about his involvement.

“I was heavily involved throughout the entire construction process, providing construction administration services and advising about design details. This project had a 12-month construction schedule which is very short for a $200 million construction project. During construction, many changes occurred. Brent and Molly managed the construction documents and design changes, and I oversaw real time construction design and administration.

Mauna Lani was an extremely complex and expedited project. Hawaiian Dredging did a magnificent job of managing all the complex and intricate construction tasks required to complete this project in the time allowed. At times, work was being accomplished by over 400 workers; simultaneously constructing atriums, restaurants, lobbies, fitness areas, markets, 330 guest rooms, swimming pools, landscaping, and site improvements. The owners, the contractors, the operator, the construction manager, and the Architects and Engineers all worked together as a very good team to accomplish this exceptional project.”

What was the highlight of this project for you?

“The construction documents were primarily completed under the management of Brent and Molly. For me, being full time on site, the highlight was that my fingerprints were on almost everything–from the rooms to atrium spaces. For example, for the 12’ high Teak Screens, I sat down with the fabricators and described how the screens should be built, determining the wood detailing, and how they would be anchored into the floor and ceiling. I also had the opportunity to design the Grand Stairway which is one of the major design features in the Atrium. It was a real pleasure working directly with the contractor daily to ensure that the design intent was understood and achieved. ”

What were some of the greatest challenges from your perspective?

“The schedule and the complexity of the project were the biggest challenges. The sheer volume of work to review and approve $200 million worth of work while construction is occurring is quite daunting. During the last five weeks of the project, previously unknown site conditions were discovered. This required an incredible amount of unanticipated construction to occur in order to maintain the targeted opening date.”

Brent, from your perspective, what was the biggest challenge and what is your favorite part of the project?

“The tight schedule, necessitated by the pre-determined opening date, was the biggest challenge. My favorite part of the project is the Canoe House which we successfully managed to save from installing a fire sprinkler system in that beautiful open beam, exposed wood ceiling.”