Island Residence

Architect: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Location: Honolulu, Hawaii

A flexible living space for an active family, comfortable for intimate gatherings but embracing the welcoming Hawaiian lifestyle.

The clients desired a flexible living space for an active family of four, comfortable for intimate gatherings but capable of accommodating larger groups of friends and relatives. This uniquely Hawaiian lifestyle is at once both welcoming and unassuming, thriving on the energy of social interaction and chance encounters.

"An exciting take on a vernacular, providing a real warmth and openness." - Jury comment

The initial dialogue with the client began with a site visit, to explore the opportunities and constraints inherent to the property. The clients hoped to establish a meaningful connection with the surrounding landscape and to maximize natural daylight within the house, taking advantage of the area’s lush vegetation and pleasant climate. This desire for openness was complicated by the need for privacy; with a public access path to the ocean directly west of the site, a steady stream of surfers pass by every day. In response, the bedrooms and children’s playroom were consolidated on the upper level and shifted towards the east, screening them from below while still providing extraordinary mountain and ocean views.

"Lovely cultural references to both Hawaii and Japan." - Jury comment

Given Hawaii’s highly corrosive coastal environment, intense sunlight, and tropical storms, the durability of building components was paramount. The deep roof eaves extend outward, providing shelter and prolonging the lifespan of the materials underneath. The majority of the exterior is clad with cedar siding, with the lanai and exterior decks constructed of Cumaru, all of which can weather naturally without the need for extensive maintenance. Durable copper roofing and wall paneling complement the natural wood finishes, developing a rich patina that varies subtly with the exposure. Marine-grade stainless steel hardware and teak detailing provide accents at the human scale.

Additional information

General Contractor: Armstrong Builders, LLC

Structural Engineer: PCS Structural Solutions

M/E/P Engineer: WSP Lincolne Scott

Geotechnical Engineering: PanGeo Incorporated

Landscape Architect: Helber Hastert & Fee Planners


2016 AIA Housing Awards Jury

Jamie Blosser, AIA (Chair), Atkin Olshin Schade Architects, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Ariella Cohen, Editor-in-Chief, Next City, Philadelphia

Kevin Harris, FAIA, Kevin Harris Architect, LLC, Baton Rouge

David Lee, FAIA, Stull and Lee, Inc., Roxbury Crossing, Massachusetts

Suman Sorg, FAIA, Sorg & Associates, P.C., Washington, DC

Image credits


Nic Lehoux


Nic Lehoux


Nic Lehoux


Nic Lehoux


Nic Lehoux


Nic Lehoux


Nic Lehoux