Hale Lana House by Olson Kundig floats above the lava plains of Hawaii

The Seattle-based firm conceives a floating family retreat with canopy-like pavilions and internal gardens in the natural surroundings of Kona in Hawaii.

by STIRworld Published on : Jul 02, 2020

Wooden porches, overhanging roofs and meandering gardens give shape to a stunning family retreat by architectural firm Olson Kundigin in Hawaii’s Kona city . Designed for a young couple who wanted a sprawling property flexible to accommodate large gatherings, the house sits at the ecotone line between the heavily landscaped area, and the expansive ocean views which stretch to Haleakalā volcano on nearby Maui island.

An aerial view of Hale Lana house | Hale Lana House | Olson Kundig | STIRworld
An aerial view of Hale Lana house amid the lava plains Image Credit: Nic Lehoux

The built form appears to be hovering over the lava plains that surround the site over a vast expanse - a reason why it was named the Hale Lana House which translates to a ‘floating home’.

Green pockets dotted within the house \ Hale Lana House | Olson Kundig | STIRworld
Green pockets dotted within the house Image Credit: Nic Lehoux

Five canopy-like pavilions constitute the house, where each block tucks patches of intimate green pockets, and frames uninterrupted views of the ocean. “The intention was for the home to feel like a canopy on the Hawaiian landscape, transparent between inside and outside,” shares design principal Tom Kundig.

Overhanging roof covering the wooden deck | Hale Lana House | Olson Kundig | STIRworld
Overhanging roof covering the wooden deck Image Credit: Nic Lehoux

An inconspicuous pathway defined by large trees and rocky landscape leads one to the entrance. Monolithic stone walls on the exterior and along the glass façade enclosing the buildings pave the many routes through the property.

Green terrace outside the master bedroom | Hale Lana House | Olson Kundig | STIRworld
Green terrace outside the master bedroom Image Credit: Nic Lehoux

Cantilevered double-pitch roofs with deep canopies in corrugated metal are a highlight within the design, and these have been inspired from the big island itself. The impressive forms cut the harsh sun rays and shade outdoor seating – a space separated from the indoors via sleek sliding glass walls that can be opened to blur the boundaries.

  • Bedroom | Hale Lana House | Olson Kundig | STIRworld
    Bedroom Image Credit: Nic Lehoux
  • Bath | Hale Lana House | Olson Kundig | STIRworld
    Bath Image Credit: Nic Lehouxmy

“Hale Lana’s roof picks up on the local Hawaiian vernacular, where large canopy roofs gather prevailing trade wind breezes and keep them moving through the building. However, this project takes that idea to a new level structurally with a very long cantilever and an extremely precise leading roof edge,” explains Kundig.

  • Family lounge | Hale Lana House | Olson Kundig | STIRworld
    Family lounge Image Credit: Nic Lehoux
  • Sliding glass walls separate the interiors from the outdoor landscape | Hale Lana House | Olson Kundig | STIRworld
    Sliding glass walls separate the interiors from the outdoor landscape Image Credit: DumNic Lehouxmy

Bedrooms and the living area open onto green terraces; wooden shutter screens within each unit allow the family to control the indoor sun exposure and wind direction.

 Indoor-outdoor seating | Hale Lana House | Olson Kundig | STIRworld
Indoor-outdoor seating Image Credit: Nic Lehoux

The main unit houses a chic living space, various bedrooms, and kitchen. A covered lanais or porch links this part of the property with the other four buildings: the cabana, the master suite, the guest suite, and the garage.

A path leading to the family's dining space | Hale Lana House | Olson Kundig | STIRworld
A path leading to the family's dining spaceImage Credit: Nic Lehoux

Custom-designed furniture and interior elements throughout complement the architecture with subtle Hawaiian references. On the inside, the roof’s wooden cladding stretches across the living space and further onto the wooden deck, giving the home a warm embrace throughout.

  • The main unit during nighttime | Hale Lana House | Olson Kundig | STIRworld
    The main unit during nighttimeImage Credit: Nic Lehoux
  • The house at twilight | Hale Lana House | Olson Kundig | STIRworld
    The house at twilight Image Credit: Nic Lehoux

“The ultimate design goal was to balance transparency and enclosure,” states the Seattle-based firm. Combining a balance of scale, finishes, views and expressions, the Hale Lana house floats above the lava bed of Hawaii and it can be likened to a lotus that blooms in muddy waters, which in the process even makes the mud a sight to behold.

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