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Design Conversation Series

Ideas of Place: Hawai`i’s Built Environment

April 19, 2021 | Design Series

Join us on Thursday, May 13th at 1pm HST, for our first ever livestream program! 

Ideas of Place: Hawai`i’s Built Environment is the first segment of a four-part program, Modern Hawai‘i and the Liljestrand House, which coalesces the issues of immigration and design. In total, Modern Hawai‘i will pose the Liljestrand House as a cultural construct of the place, time and human aspiration which created it nearly 70 years ago in relation to its meaning and mission today.

Since 2007, the Liljestrand Foundation has preserved this highly regarded icon of Hawai`i’s mid-20th century architecture on a majestic site overlooking urban Honolulu. Commissioned by Dr. Howard and Betty Liljestrand in 1948, designed by noted architect Vladimir Ossipoff, FAIA (1907-1998), and built by R. Takahashi, general contractor, the Liljestrand House attained international recognition upon its publication in House Beautiful magazine as the “Pace Setter Home of 1958.”

To kick-off this program, Hawai‘i-born and raised scholar, Gary Okihiro, Ph.D., will lead a conversation with a panel of experts about the impact of human ideas and activities upon the island world. He will pose questions regarding how such actions have and will inform how people see, understand, and thereby construct the built environment. Contrasting worldviews such as imperialism, nationalism, colonialism, capitalism, and modernity, set against the ideas of kinship with and custodianship of the land, waters, and skies, will be raised to frame this session. The built environments of the former plantation system, western urbanism, militarism, and mass tourism are a few of the major forces which have shaped and continue to impact the perception and reality of this island state.  

Gary will be joined in conversation by Davianna McGregor and Melanie Ide. Moderated by Dean Sakamoto, FAIA.  

Gary Okihiro, Ph.D., is a Visiting Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, Race, and Migration at Yale University. Prior to Yale, he was Professor of International and Public Affairs and the founding director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University. He is the author of twelve books, including American History Unbound, Asians and Pacific Islanders; Island World, A History of Hawai`i and the United States; Pineapple Culture, A History of the Tropical and Temperate Zones; and The Boundless Sea, Self and History

Davianna Pōmaikaʻi McGregor is a professor and director of the Center for Oral History, in the Department of Ethnic Studies, College of Social Sciences, UH-Mānoa. Her ongoing research endeavors focus on the persistence of traditional Hawaiian cultural customs, beliefs, and practices in rural Hawaiian communities on the main Hawaiian islands. This work is featured in her award-winning 2007 UH Press book, Nā Kuaaina: Living Hawaiian Culture. She lives in Kaiwiula on the island of O’ahu and Hoolehua, Molokai. As a member of the Protect Kaho’olawe ‘Ohana she helps provide stewardship of the island of Kanaloa Kaho’olawe.

Melanie Ide is President and CEO at Bishop Museum, and has over 30 years of experience in museum planning, design and program development. Prior to accepting her role at Bishop Museum in 2018, she was a principal of Ralph Appelbaum Associates (RAA), a multi-disciplinary, international planning and design firm having completed projects in more than twenty countries.  From 2005-2014, Melanie led RAA’s team to restore and reinterpret Bishop Museum’s now iconic Hawaiian Hall and Pacific Hall and the first phase of a comprehensive masterplan for the Museum. Melanie serves as an Advisory Board member of Liljestrand Foundation.

Dean Sakamoto, FAIA, is the Principal of Dean Sakamoto Architects and founder of the SHADE group (Sustainable Humanitarian Architecture Design for the Earth), based in Honolulu, Hawai`i. As a practicing architect and educator, Dean has served on the faculty of the Yale University School of Architecture and was named Transformation Fellow at UNLV School of Architecture in 2019. Dean curated the international retrospective, Hawaiian Modern: The Architecture of Vladimir Ossipoff from 2007-2009, and authored the book by the same name. Dean serves on the Board of Directors of Liljestrand Foundation.

AIA Members are eligible to receive 1 LU for attending this lecture. Please be sure to fill out the appropriate box when registering.

Dates for parts two, three and four which will discuss the Liljestrand family, architect Vladimir Ossipoff and the future of Liljestrand Foundation are to be announced. 

This program series was made possible through the generous support of Vilcek Foundation

Hawai`i Council for the Humanities provided support for the initial planning stages of this program through the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the CARES Act of 2020.

The views, the house, the architecture, the clients…all add up to a transcendent monument.

— Joan Chan

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The Liljestrand House is listed on the Hawai‘i State and the United States National Register of Historic Places.

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