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Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Island Residence and Studio

Oahu, Hawaii

A family home and studio on O’ahu’s South Shore reflect a uniquely Hawaiian spirit of place and way of life.

Overlooking the coastline at a corner of an ancient fishpond, this private residence reflects the culture of the Hawaiian Islands by embracing its lush surroundings. © Nic Lehoux
Opening large lift-slide doors transforms the living pavilion at the main residence to an outdoor amphitheater. © Nic Lehoux
The clients desired a home with a traditional Japanese entry sequence signified by entering on stone and stepping up onto wood. © Nic Lehoux
© Nic Lehoux
Island Studio is separated from the main residence by a public right-of-way to nearby surf access. © Nic lehoux Photography
Dark-stained cedar volumes contain a kitchen, catering station, and storage space. © Nic Lehoux
The Studio continues the tradition of growing food established at the main residence, with growing rods along building’s southern side that support a range of climbing vegetables. © Nic Lehoux
An array of climbing vegetables are fertilized by the nutrient-rich waters provided by an aquaponics irrigation system. © Nic Lehoux
The artist studio is an airy and light-filled workspace where our clients and visiting artists explore evolving interests and artwork. © Nic Lehoux
© Nic Lehoux
The studio also provides ample room for our clients to host outdoor gatherings. © Nic Lehoux
"An exciting take on a vernacular, providing a real warmth and openness."
AIA Housing Awards Jury

Project Information


4,500 square feet (main residence), 4,000 square feet (studio)




AIA National Housing Award, Custom Residences Category

AIA Honolulu Award of Excellence


Island Residence (Architect Magazine)

Island Residence overlooks the Pacific on a curve of coastline that once formed an ancient fish pond. Home and studio pavilion are located on either side of a public access path to the ocean, and incorporate diverse outdoor spaces, sculptural wood forms, and intimate and expansive views. The design balances our clients’ cultural heritage and appreciation of craft and natural materials with a bold, Modernist approach to light, space, and living in harmony with the natural world.

We completed the project in two phases, beginning with the main residence. Originally the site of a caretaker’s cottage for the nearby loko i’a (fish pond), the house maintains the relationship to ancient Hawaiian land planning by orienting itself along the mauka-makai (mountain–water) axis. Large operable doors and windows open the central living pavilion to the sheltered lanai and views of the landscape, the ocean reef, and local surf breaks. A stepped edge along the lanai softens the transition to the landscape while acting as an amphitheater for watching surfers and net fishermen beyond the seawall. Across the public path, the studio provides room for our clients to host guests and explore artwork focused on cultural and environmental conservation, preservation, and restoration. Airy, light-filled volumes provide flexibility for evolving projects, with indoor-outdoor living areas for community gatherings and events.

In both main residence and studio, hand shaped and curved Douglas fir glulam beams recall traditional Hawaiian canoe building techniques. Each building celebrates our clients’ passion for food and agriculture in different ways– the main residence features a planted roof of over 180 varieties of fruits and vegetables, while growing rods along southern side of the studio support climbing vegetables while creating a leafy breezeway. Below the growing rods, the seamless introduction of onsite aquaponics allows nutrients from fishponds to fertilize the planter boxes.