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A History of Hawaiian Architecture for Home Builders

Hawaiian Architecture

The Beautiful History of Hawaiian Architecture

Hawaiian architecture is as diverse and creative as its people, and architectural history is a fantastic guide to helping you find the perfect style inspiration when building your new home. Here are three uniquely Hawaiian architectural styles that lend themselves to current trends while incorporating the rich and vibrant culture of the islands.

Hawaii Mission Architecture

Presbyterian religious families came to Hawaii as missionaries, bringing the architectural styles of New England to the islands. Mission homes were the first frame houses built in Hawaii, modeled after the farmhouses and churches they left back home. Eventually, the New England style evolved into a distinctly Hawaiian style, as old methods and materials were replaced with indigenous building techniques. Bricks were replaced with coral blocks, and the arrival of French missionaries added new design elements—including baroque ornamentation and arched roofs. Mission architecture remains a popular home style today since it is easily customizable to individual preferences.  From open layouts to high ceilings, Mission-style architecture appeals to both contemporary and traditional homeowners.

Hawaii Renaissance Architecture

In 1850, King Kamehameha V commissioned his palace, Ali‘iōlani Hale and ushered in a new architectural style throughout the Hawaiian islands.  Kamehameha V wanted a palace showcasing Hawaii’s international prominence, choosing design elements that simultaneously honor Hawaiian culture while referencing traditional Roman architecture. Homeowners can replicate Hawaiian Renaissance style with elegant home facades- including petite columns, curves and cylindrical details, and wide verandas perfect for enjoying Hawaii’s natural beauty.

Hawaii Plantation-Style

Originally built for laborers on pineapple and sugar cane plantations during the early 1900s, Plantation-Style homes now symbolize a fusion of native culture and European influences. Wood frames, exposed rafters, wide-hipped roofs, and roomy porches dominate plantation-style homes and blend in effortlessly with the surrounding environment. Environmental compatibility renders this a timeless style for new home builders, especially those interested in maximizing the latest trends in indoor-outdoor living spaces while using the same environmentally sustainable materials traditionally used in island architecture. Plantation-style lends itself especially to those interested in utilizing solar panels, reclaimed wood, and other locally sourced building materials.

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