Modern Architecture in Hawaii

Real Estate Agent with Harcourts Island Properties RB-20368

I finally had the chance yesterday to get down and see the Ossipoff exhibition at the Honolulu Academy of Arts.  For those of you that don't know, Vladimir Ossipoff was the most renowned architect in Hawaii in the 20th Century.  He was born in Russia, raised in Japan and schooled at UC, Berkley.  He passed away in 1998 after a career spanning six decades! The reason for the display was this year marked what would have been his 100th birthday.  I've heard so much about him over the years.  His work included both residential and commercial designs.  There are just too many too name.  Some of his noted works were the Honolulu International Airport, the IBM Building, the McInerny Building in Waikiki, the Chapel at Hawaii Preparatory Academy on the Big Island, and the Chapel at Punahou School where I attended. 

Apparently, I grew up around his architecture my entire life without realizing it.  He designed both of the homes my two grandmothers lived in when I was a child- one in Puupanini and the other was Diamond Head Apartments Penthouse #1201, which fetched $4.5 Million last year! Too bad our family sold it years back L  He also designed the Outrigger Canoe Club and the Pacific Club, both of which I have spent a lot of time at over the years.   As my real estate career has progressed, I have also heard his name more & more.  This past year, I sold a unit at the Diamond Head Apartments and a home he designed on Maunalani Heights built in 1937 to some clients of mine.  His single family residences are harder and harder to find since so many have either been remodeled or torn down over the years.  I also have heard that some homes can demand an additional 15% premium if they were an Ossipoff home.  If you're interested in house hunting for one, I know of a few if you Call me at 808-371-3509.

One of the most interesting quotes I walked away with yesterday was "Air Conditioning is the Root of All Evil" I can see why he said that.  Don't get me wrong- I'm a big fan of AC, however I think he saw it almost as cheating.   Everything he designed had a way to take in natural light, he used natural stones and wood for a cooling effect, and took our trade winds into consideration to function as a natural AC.  He also was famous in the 60's for his "War on Ugliness".  He was really opposed to high rise buildings and the use of glass and how they obstructed the ocean views.  It's a battle he unfortunately lost as you see the Honolulu skyline today.   My guess is he may not have been a big fan of the modern high rises such as Nauru Tower, Hawaiki Tower, Hokua, Koolani, and Moana Pacific.  However, if he did win and high rise development was curbed even more strictly over the years, just imagine where our real estate prices would be today...


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Alek Hairapetian - Surprise, AZ

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Feb 20, 2008 09:59 AM #1
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