Hawaiian summer camps influence tropical island estate by Walker Warner

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Kahua Kuili by Walker Warner Architects

Hawaiian summer camps influence tropical island estate by Walker Warner Architects

This complex at the foot of a volcano in Hawaii was modelled on a summer camp, where Walker Warner Architects has spread out living spaces across a series of cabins on the site.

Kahua Kuili by Walker Warner Architects

The Kahua Kuili home is sited on a former ranch on Hawaii's Big Island and faces expansive views of the Pacific Ocean and Kua Bay, as well as mountain views of Hualalai. Walker Warner Architects, based in San Francisco, sought to reference local building styles in the design.

Kahua Kuili by Walker Warner Architects

"The residence is a modern interpretation of the classic Hawaii summer camp," said the firm. "Kahua Kuili incorporates numerous timeless elements that remain relevant to century-old architecture and design, and will be relevant for centuries to come."

Kahua Kuili by Walker Warner Architects

The property is accessed via a small bridge that leads to a central lawn. Eight individual pavilions are organised around this outdoor space, providing a variety of gathering areas for the residents and their guests.

Kahua Kuili by Walker Warner Architects

A large central building acts as the main social space, and contains the kitchen, living and dining rooms. Expansive barn-style doors on the east and west facades allow the structure to be cross-ventilated and open to views of the sea.

Kahua Kuili by Walker Warner Architects

"It's tall ceiling, large windows and grand sliding doors that open to the backyard are cohesive with the open and airy theme of the house," said the architects.

Kahua Kuili by Walker Warner Architects

The master suite sits just north of the central cabana, and includes a secluded outdoor space for the owners.

Across the lawn, the southern portion of the site contains two guest houses. Each of these has two bedrooms – each with a walk-in closet and individual bathroom, providing guests with plenty of privacy.

Kahua Kuili by Walker Warner Architects

"In fashion with traditional Hawaiian architecture, Kahua Kuili is made up of multiple communal hang out spots that allow for interaction amongst residents," Walker Warner Architects said.

Kahua Kuili by Walker Warner Architects

The southwestern edge of the site accommodates a series of communal spaces, including a tiki bar, a swimming pool, and a dining area where the residents can host luau – a form of Hawaiian celebration that includes outdoor cooking, music, and dancing.

Kahua Kuili by Walker Warner Architects

Local materials were chosen for the design because of their aesthetic and longevity. "The buildings reinforce the camp-like aesthetic by utilising simple, durable materials such as board-formed concrete, western red cedar, oversized sliding doors, operable wood ventilation louvers, and rope lashing," said the firm, which completed the project in 2014.

Kahua Kuili by Walker Warner Architects

Hawaii's fair weather makes the US state ideal for outdoor living. Another home on the island chain, by local architects De Reus, was designed as a small village linked by gardens and exterior walkways. On a smaller scale, Oregon-based designer Erin Moore completed a pair of units that frame a three-hundred year-old lava formation.

Photography is by Matthew Millman Photography.

Project credits:
Walker Warner Architects: Greg Warner, principal; Clark Sather, senior associate
Interior designer: Philpotts Interiors
Landscape: David Y Tamura Associates
Builder: Maryl Construction

More images and plans

Kahua Kuili by Walker Warner Architects
Site and floor plan
Kahua Kuili by Walker Warner Architects
Kahua Kuili by Walker Warner Architects
Kahua Kuili by Walker Warner Architects
Kahua Kuili by Walker Warner Architects
Kahua Kuili by Walker Warner Architects