Yes, really. At first thought, the concept of modern architecture can go against the grain of what we tend to think of when we think of Maui. Maui, to me, is raw nature, beauty, sweetness, quiet, simplicity, wind, rain, and sun. Modern architecture can bring to mind austerity, hard surfaces, angular, uber hip, and urban. So how can we make this marriage of modernism and Hawaiian culture work?
I’m reminded of my Kumu Hula who taught our class that Hawaiians were always open to new technology, and absorbing aspects of new technology that resonate with Hawaiian culture. Case in point – the Macintosh computer was one of the first computers that enabled the use of specialized Hawaiian characters, and the University of Hawaii played a part in making that happen.
Kula Modern Residence
So we have a really great opportunity to combine aspects of modern architecture (that work so well with our climate) and the Hawaiian vibe to create a new unique form of modern: Hawaii Modern.
Want some proof that this is possible? Just take a look at what local boy architect Alika Romanchak has done:
Alika has built a house that has been imbued with a deep understanding of its site – something only architects who have lived here can truly understand. Anyone who has ever driven around the island knows that Maui has abundant micro climates – the wind and rain pattern at the top of Awalau Road (my street), for instance, is completely different than the wind and rain pattern five minutes down the hill. A good architect will allow the design of the house to be completely informed by the site, leveraging, light, air, and sun to the highest and best use of its occupants.
Check out the full article on Alika’s house.
Modern on Maui
Alika and his family have graciously allowed me to photograph their house as the inaugural article to my new blog “Modern on Maui.” I wanted to create a web space that was devoted to all things modern on Maui: A celebration of our unique form of modernism through the lens or architecture, design, photography, and style. Please take a look and “like” the Facebook page to stay abreast of news and updates to the blog.
Modern Prefab on Maui
One of my favorite prefab structures of all time is the Taalman and Koch “itHouse.” I had the pleasure of staying in this house situated close to Joshua Tree, California two summers ago. The house uses existing Bosch factory automation building tools, and incorporates them into a unique residential format that creates a sturdy, lightweight, recyclable structure that maximizes the use of glass – a perfect idea for jungle living on Maui’s north shore. Impervious to termites, and rot, these structures are low maintenance, offer a small footprint, and will fare well against the onslaught of our lovely rainy weather.
I have just initiated the commission process for my own itHouse here in Haiku and you can stay abreast of the build by following Modern on Maui.
If you’d like to build your own modern Maui hideaway, I would be happy to help you find some raw land and point you in the direction of architects and builders who understand Hawai’i really well.
Liam S. Ball, R(S)