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A New Residential Archetype for Hawai'i: Application of a Regional Design Approach for the Department of Hawaiian Homelands

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Title:A New Residential Archetype for Hawai'i: Application of a Regional Design Approach for the Department of Hawaiian Homelands
Authors:Shaw, Andrew
Contributors:Leineweber, Spencer (advisor)
Architecture (department)
Date Issued:May 2011
Abstract:The State of Hawaii is the most isolated population center in the world, with nearly three thousand miles separating it from the rest of the United States. As a result of this extreme isolation and its tropical climate, Hawaii has a unique and distinctive environmental landscape, which includes a broad spectrum of individual ecosystems. Coupled with its long history of “meltingpot” demographics, this has resulted in the development of a strong cultural and sub-cultural identity. Despite this well defined environment, much of the residential architecture in Hawai’i generally does not capture or reflect upon the unique regional qualities. Many will argue that much of Hawaii’s architecture has contracted a sense of “placelessness”, in which it has no connection to the contextual features of the region. Much of the architecture has become simply about style, with less concern for appropriateness. The concept of critical regionalism is a design approach that helps to define a sense of place. A regional approach to architecture clearly addresses and incorporates the contextual forces of a region, such as the local climate and culture, rather than just applying preconceived notions of building “styles” as the primary generator of form. Considered to be one of the precursors of the current movement of sustainability in architecture, regionalism is an ideal design approach for any location that is in danger of environmental and cultural degradation, such as Hawai’i. By not only serving as an expression of cultural identity, but also doing so in a manner that is environmentally sensitive, architectural regionalism can serve as a primary tenet for the sustainability movement in Hawaii. The theory of regional architecture, including the underlying paradigm of critical regionalism is thoroughly discussed in Part I of this document in order to establish a foundational understanding of this subject matter. This discussion addresses the role of sustainability in regional architecture, as the two concepts are tightly interwoven, and to a large extent, defined by one another. The culmination of the project is a prototype for a residential community for the Department of Hawaiian Homelands (DHHL) that assimilates the presented research topics. Located on the island of Kaua’i, the site for this prototype has many unique regional qualities that will be used to inform and inspire the design of the 3 development. Through the research and design efforts, the goal of this project is to explore an alternative to the conventional residential development currently found throughout islands of Hawai’i by creating a more regionally and environmentally appropriate, and thus sustainable, community.
Pages/Duration:127 pages
Appears in Collections: D.ARCH. - Architecture

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