What does it take to succeed in Hawai‘i in your line of work?
Resiliency and a sense of community. In Hawai‘i, we are both blessed and challenged by our remote island location. In our design and construction industry, I see the challenges of added shipping time, higher shipping costs, limited work force, a protracted regulatory system and higher land prices. These all contribute in part to a surcharge on the overall development process, making it even more difficult to choose to stay, live, work and succeed in Hawai‘i. Believing wholeheartedly that we are working together to create great places for our community keeps me on my toes and positive about our continued longevity in Hawai‘i.
What advice do you have for early-career designers or architects?
Be hungry, be bold, be adventurous, be of open mind and, above all, be courageous enough explore new thought trends, ideas and innovations. Find great mentors who will invest their time in you and will nurture your professional and personal growth. Then, remember to give back to those who follow you. Our profession and our young designers can’t grow if we don’t invest of ourselves and if we don’t perpetuate an ethos of lifelong learning.
On Honolulu’s rapidly changing skyline:
I am relieved that the community dialogue has shifted from a conversation focused on the number of structures to a more robust conversation on building structures that improve living opportunities for everyone, especially local residents. While Honolulu’s skyline is changing, we are creating much-needed housing as well as sustaining our building industry.
Are there design challenges specific to Hawai‘i?
As designers we are challenged to look beyond our shoreline and keep up with trends around the world. But we are also challenged to infuse what we see and experience abroad with what Hawai‘i is really all about. Sometimes what is trendy or contemporary elsewhere has little application to our island life and it is our responsibility to acknowledge this and design accordingly.
What industry trends do you see unfolding in Hawai‘i?
Our beautiful climate lends itself well to indoor/outdoor living and multipurpose, multifunctional rooms rather than compartmentalized living. Hawai‘i was already at the forefront of innovative design in terms of blending living spaces and workspace environments long before I began my design practice. We have but to look to past masters, such as Vladimir Ossipoff or Hart Wood, to find kernels that inspire or reinforce ideas of future contemporary living in Hawai‘i.
As land prices continue to rise and adequate housing continues to be a great concern, doing more with less will be increasingly fashion forward. Our studio apartment units at Moanalua Hillside Apartments are a perfect example of blended living spaces that offer more from less square-footage. Our office/work environments seem to be headed along a similar trajectory.
In today’s increasingly collaborative work environment, we are receiving more and more requests for transparent offices or no offices, collaborative living-room-like meetings spaces, less sedentary desking and more interactive, energized workspaces.