The BIA Renaissance Building and Remodeling Awards, established in 1986, celebrates excellence in design and construction of new and remodeled projects in Hawaii. This showcase recognizes competing categories including Details, Kitchen & Bath, Landscape & Outdoor Living, New & Remodeled Commercial Building, New & Remodeled Residential Building, Public Works, Hawaii BuiltGreen™, Historical and Innovative Design & Construction. The 28th Annual Awards Ceremony was held on May 8 and 38 entrants from Maui, Molokai and Oahu represented an exciting year of statewide participation.

The entries were judged on creativity, use of materials, environmental & sustainability, functionality, design principles, value, interior space, overall quality and workmanship.


The highlight of the awards ceremony was the recognition of the top four Overall Grand Awards and the Carl Reppun Award. Today’s column will feature the winner of the Overall Grand Award in the Commercial Remodel division. The winner is Armstrong Builders, LLC for “Easter Seals at Kahului.”


This 8,000 square foot Easter Seals building was laden with hazardous materials, termite damage and code delinquent issues. The goal of this renovation was to stay true to the existing architecture of the old structure while creating an environment conducive for learning. Hazardous materials were “surgically removed” while beams, roof trusses, concrete slabs and retaining walls with painted murals were salvaged and incorporated into the design.

New roofing, plumbing, electrical, acoustical ceiling, air conditioning and ventilation brought the building to current energy-rated standards. Natural light flows into the space with the addition of windows, solar tubes and skylights in each room. The removal of dividing walls created openness and harmony between the new commercial kitchen and the new expanded learning center. A new common area created a covered open space to allow larger gatherings and events. This remodeling project represents the Easter Seals’ philosophy to work with existing conditions and improve upon them.


Karen Nakamura is CEO of the Building Industry Association of Hawaii.