October 30, 2011 Mid-Century Modern

Mid-Century Modern Hawaii

After Saturday’s snow and today’s chilly temps, I thought a few shots from Hawaii would be nice to warm things up. There is so much mid-century modern architecture in Hawaii (Honolulu boomed after World War II) that one can spend a whole vacation exploring the tropical modernism of the islands. I wanted to stay married and not have my kids detest me, so I limited my time on seeing architecture to pursue the other things Hawaii has to offer.

I did spend two hours at the stunning Liljestrand House by Hawaii’s leading modernist, Vladimir Ossipoff. (Ossipoff was born in Vladivostok in 1907, raised in Japan where his father was a Russian diplomat, and educated at the University of California, Berkeley. After graduation in 1931, he moved to Hawaii where he practiced architecture until his death in 1998.) The two-hour tour was led by Bob Liljestrand, whose parents Howard and Betty, spent 10 years looking for the perfect spot for the house. The wait was worth it. The house is perched high above Honolulu. The views of the city and Diamond Head are amazing. The beautiful siting and blending of outside and inside are Ossipoff’s signatures.

Liljestrand House

A perfect spot. Diamond Head, Honolulu and the Pacific make for a stunning view.

Liljestrand House

Liljestrand House

Taking advantage of the weather, Ossipoff incorporated a full-length balcony and outdoor rec room.

Liljestrand House

The Liljestand's would play ping pong during parties in this outside rec room.

Liljestrand House

A shot of the balcony. An excellent place to enjoy the view and the weather.

Liljestrand House

One view from the living room. Ossipoff designed all the furniture as well. The wood for the coffee table came from a tree on the property.

The dramatic open stairway leading down to the family room.

Liljestrand House

A view of the front of the house.

Here is a shot of one of Ossipoff’s other signature designs, the 1962 IBM Building. The pattern of the brise soliel (concrete sun screen) was designed, according to Osipoff, to “express the computer-world character of the IBM Corp., but also gives it a sense of belonging in the sun. The deep shadows of the grillwork become as significant a part of the architecture as any part of the structure itself.”

IBM Building Honolulu

Here are a few other shots of the unique modern architecture of Hawaii that I spotted during the trip.

Library in Waikiki

Waikiki-Kapahulu library.


Mid-Century Apartment in Honolulu

One of the many mid-century apartment complexes in Honolulu.


Rainbow Tower, Hilton Hawaiin Village

The 1968 Rainbow Tower at the Hilton Hawaiin Village. At the time, it featured the world’s largest ceramic-tile mosaic.

Church, North Shore of Oahu

Church on the North Shore of Oahu.

Church school, North Shore of Oahu

Church school on the North Shore of Oahu.

Beach bathroom, Oahu.

One of the many amazing mid-century beach bathrooms that dot the islands. This one is on the North Shore of Oahu.

School in Waikiki.

Waikiki School with its nice backdrop.

Church on Oahu.

Church on Oahu.

First Hawaiin Bank

A First Hawaiin Bank branch in Aina Haina on Oahu.

Church in Kahala.

Church with lava rock near the Kahala Mall. I can't count how many mid-century modern churches I saw.

Valley of the Temples Memorial Park

The 1963 Valley of the Temples Memorial Park.

Commercial building Kailua.

Mid-century commercial building in Kailua.

Commercial building Kailua.

A close up of the honeycomb screen bock pattern. Looks like the original number as well.

Here’s a view of Honolulu from Diamond Head. Aloha.