Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


McKay Foyer

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Institution Name: Brigham Young University--Hawaii
Original/Historic Place Name: Central Building Unit 1
Location on Campus:
Date(s) of Construction:
1957-1958original construction Burton, Harold W. Burton, Douglas W.
Designer: Harold W. Burton; Douglas W. Burton
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Modern/post-WWII, Regionalist/Vernacular (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, history, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: concrete with steel reinforcement
Walls: pre-cast concrete with exterior coral stone veneer
Roof: steel truss, corregated transite (original) roofing, concrete title Monier roofing over original transite
ca. 2004-present (2006)museum (the Foyer includes museum-type displays to explain aspects of the history of the university and the Morman church in Hawaii and the Pacific)
ca. 2004-present (2006)admissions office (the McKay Foyer was built to serve as the official/formal entrance to campus)

As the location indicates (see aerial oblique photo showing Little Circle and McKay Complex) the McKay Foyer is purposely located so as to be the entrance to campus. On the outside is a ceramic mosaic depicting an event in 1921 that generated the idea for a church institution of higher learning for the youth of the Pacific. Inside are two large murals depicting the advent of Christianity in the Islands and the dedication of the Islands for the preaching of the gospel by the first Mormon missionaries. It is now used as a venue for hosting functions.

The circular open space fronting the McKay Foyer has particular significance to both the university and its wider Pacific community. This space functions as a marae dedicated to gatherings for traditional ceremonials of welcome and cultural exchange. Royal kava circles conducted in this site have included His Majesty the King of Tonga, the Malietoa of Samoa, the Premier of the Peoples Republic of China, and other world leaders. The marae also functions as the gathering place for student and community activities, where traditions involving food, dance, arts, and entertainment are shared. In these significant ways, the marae circle fronting the McKay Foyer respectfully represents the cultural identity of the Pacific Rim nations represented in BYU-Hawaii's student body, faculty, and staff.


Dober, Richard P. Campus Planning. New York: Reinhold Publishing, 1963. Reprint, Ann Arbor, MI: Society for College and University Planning, 1996.


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Last update: November 2006