Repairing the Repairs on Iolani Palace
Iolani Palace was built by King Kalakaua in 1879-1882. An extensive mid-70s restoration returned it to its 1886-1893 appearance. Since 1980 Mason Architects has been the project architect for fourteen major phases of restoration work, diagnosing problems that arise as the building has continued to age. Work done in the 1970s is now being repaired again, sometimes with systems or materials that were not available 40 years ago.
- The Palace is made of plastered brick, with ‘American Italianate’ towers at each corner and at the center of the mauka and makai elevations.
- On its grounds are Iolani Barracks, originally built in 1871 to house the royal guards, and the Coronation Pavilion, which Kalakaua built for his coronation in 1883. The Palace is surrounded by a coral block wall topped by an iron fence.
- After the overthrow of Queen Lili’uokalani in 1893, its furnishings were catalogued and auctioned off and the Palace became the official seat of the provisional, republican, territorial, and state governments.
- The Palace was listed on the National Register in 1966, and in 1969, when state officials moved into the new Capitol adjacent to it, the Friends of Iolani Palace monitored the restoration of the Palace to its 1886-1893 appearance. It was opened to the public in 1978.
- In 1975, while working for another firm, Glenn Mason was charged with reconstruction of the Palace Barracks. Moved from the site now occupied by the Capitol, the Barracks’ coral blocks had turned to rubble. Working from old photographs, Mason rebuilt the Barracks’ walls from the rubble, then plastered them in a pattern to match the original.
- Since 1980 Mason Architects’ work has included:
- Restoration of the Coronation Pavilion, which had been moved, rebuilt in 1910, and set upon a concrete base in 1920.
- Restoration of the original entrance pillars and gates and refinishing of the 20,000 linear feet of perimeter walls and fences.
- Improvements to the roofing, HVAC, and security systems of the Palace and installation of site lighting and walkways.
- Restoration of the Old Archives Building, originally constructed in 1906, with additions in 1929.
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Old Archives Building Photo: Augie Salbosa.