Kauai, Hawaii as an Architectural Experience

Hello everyone,

I hope everyone is having a good summer. So this post comes about two weeks after my actual trip, but nevertheless, here are some photos that I took while vacationing in Hawaii. My family stayed on the north shore of Kauai, so most of these are from around that area. Although I did not go on the trip consciously thinking of architecture, I found myself analyzing homes, churches, and the town centers and sorting their various attributes into mental categories.

While not necessarily the most innovative or forward site of architecture, I still found the island’s scope of buildings to be fascinating and insightful. Many of the homes there, while beautiful, were also designed with a practical hand. Most beachfront homes are set on blocks or stilts to afford better ocean views. Similarly, homes were oriented away from the setting western sun in order to avoid increased light and heat. Most uniquely, however, was the use of materials. Many homes, most churches, a fair number of the town centers used lava rocks as a primary building material. After asking one of our waiters one night, I learned that these lava rocks are valued for their extreme hardness, light-weight, and aesthetic value. When adorned in the “proper” manner, the rocks seem to make the edifices blend seamlessly into the surrounding lush landscape.

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There are pictures of everything from lava rock churches to multi-million dollar tourist properties to an abandoned sugar cane mill in this slideshow (the close up of the sugar mill was ripped from the internet because of potential trespassing on my behalf). Enjoy. Also, next weekend, my parents promised to take me to Kahn’s Kimbell Museum and Tadao Ando’s Fort Worth of Modern Art Museum, so look for my next post featuring those soon.

Love from Texas,
Kim.

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