Support a New Concept for the Waikiki Natatorium’s Future!

November 10, 2016 by Juvenio Guerra

“The commitment to restoring the authentic monument is consistent with the best of American traditions: we do not discard our national treasures.”

– Senator Daniel Akaka, Referring to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

The National Trust is unveiling a concept proposal for the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium that will honor its unique legacy as a “living” war memorial. Most significantly, the design suggests opening the seawall to users to recreate in clean ocean water. The proposal addresses longstanding concerns with the aged facility, including: water quality; public safety; environmental protection; and cost for building and operations.

The concept was developed by two of the most respected engineers in Hawaii, Dr. Hans Krock, Emeritus Professor of Ocean and Resources Engineering at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and Dr. Alfred Yee, foremost authority in the design of concrete structures and consulting engineer for Pearl Harbor’s USS Arizona Memorial.

This Concept Design is strongly supported by Friends of the Natatorium and the Historic Hawai'i Foundation, who are partnering with the National Trust in efforts to convince the City and County of Honolulu that preservation is feasible at a cost far less than they assumed. We are seeking public review and input to better refine the design. Key graphics are captured in the slideshow below, and the full design of the proposal is available for download.


  • CLEAN. A combination of wave energy, allowed into the swim area through chevrons that comprise the seawall, and circulation through openings in the side walls nearest to the bleacher structure would fully exchange the Natatorium with ocean water at least six times per day.
  • CLEAR. To avoid murkiness in the water, silt would be dredged from the swim basin and replaced with an inert material, such as gravel, that could then be contoured to allow for a shallow and deep end, and covered with precast concrete panels. The use of silicone dioxide sand on top of the panels would be a safe and long-lasting solution.
  • SIMPLE. The relative simplicity of this design—essentially a sheltered ocean environment—is its major advantage. The Natatorium would be as safe to swim in as the adjacent ocean and would not require the addition of special pumps or drainage infrastructure and related maintenance.

Design Concept

Now, the National Trust is urging the City and County of Honolulu to study Dr. Krock and Dr. Yee’s design in-depth, as part of its environmental impact statement, and take the vital steps needed in preserving the Natatorium’s important role—including commission of an engineering model required to move forward in evaluating the concept’s low-cost potential.

Please complete the form below to share your comments on the proposed concept. Thank you for helping us shape the future of the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium, a true National Treasure!

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