Lorraine Minatoishi, PH.D., AIA
Local-born and raised LORRAINE MINATOISHI, PH.D., AIA, LEED AP, is the president of Minatoishi Architects, an award-winning architecture firm specializing in historic preservation. Dr. Minatoishi produced an award-winning documentary entitled Aloha Buddha, which covered the history of Japanese immigration, religion and architecture in the Hawaiian Islands. She has served on the AIA Honolulu Board of Directors, the Historic Hawai‘i Foundation Board of Trustees and was vice-chair of the Hawai‘i Historic Review Board.
WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION FOR THE CREATIVE ELEMENTS OF YOUR DESIGNS PROJECTS?
Inspiration comes from our clients’ dreams and wishes—whether they’re homeowners or large developers. We are inspired by their enthusiasm for the project. Perhaps this is what Ossipoff meant when he said, “Good design can only happen with a good client.” We seek our clients’ vision and use our professional expertise to make the project the best that it can be.
WHAT IS SOME ADVICE THAT GOT YOU TO WHERE YOU ARE TODAY?
I have had many wonderful mentors that have helped me along the way. Don Shaw, AIA, my university professor and monitor, really helped me stay positive in school and cheered me on during those years. He then helped me get into graduate school. Today we work together on projects, so it’s wonderful to come full circle. Sid Snyder, AIA, and Vladimir Ossipoff, FAIA, were my first employers and taught me about great design. Sid and I work together now as well. My parents always expected the best from their kids—I didn’t know what racial and sexual discrimination was until later in life because I never felt it growing up. For us, the sky was the limit. There is a big difference between that world and the world I operate in now—women architects and developers are few and far between.