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Design Conversation Series

Essential Hawaii Modernists

May 10, 2022 | Design Series

Wednesday, June 1, 2022
Essential Hawaii Modernists – The Associated Architects:
Fisk, Johnson, Ossipoff, Perkins and Preis

With the construction freeze in the early war years after the attack on Pearl Harbor, most architectural offices went out of business. Alfred Preis initiated the re-opening of the local AIA chapter to foster architectural discourse and ideas for the future of Honolulu. Out of these conversations the syndicate Associated Architects emerged in 1943 consisting of five of the most forward thinking modernists of Hawai‘i. The panel discussed the long-lasting influence of the architects, their friendship and their significant collaborations.

In partnership with the Austrian Consulate General Los Angeles, Liljestrand Foundation was pleased to present an evening of presentation and conversation with
Axel Schmitzberger, R.A., California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Laura McGuire, Ph.D., University of Hawaii at Manoa
Graham Hart, AIA, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Lorraine Minatoishi, Ph.D., AIA, LEED AP

Axel Schmitzberger is a licensed architect and professor at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Including his current engagement, he has taught at various academic institution in the United States, Taiwan and Austria in the areas of Architecture, Multimedia and Graphic Design. He practiced in various architectural design and multimedia offices on internationally recognized projects prior to relocating to Los Angeles. After working for Morphosis Architects on several international projects and as partner in the design-build partnership domaen, he pursued his own multi-disciplinary practice APLATFORM, and academia. He is the recipient of several national and international awards for his residential, commercial and graphic design work. In 2019, he co-curated the exhibit “Resident Alien —Austrian Architects in America” at the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York. This was followed by an online exhibition on the Austrian-Hawaiian architect Alfred Preis in collaboration with the Austrian Foreign Ministry and Laura McGuire of University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. He currently divides his time between working in his practice APLATFORM and teaching. He resides in Los Angeles, Hawai‘i and Austria.

Laura McGuire is a U.S.-based architecture and design historian. She is an Assistant Professor of Architectural History, Theory, and Criticism at the School of Architecture at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in architecture and design history and theory. She has also taught at the School of Architecture + Design at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and at the School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned her Ph.D. in Architecture. Her research focuses on modernist American and Central European architecture and design of the interwar twentieth century, especially the role of Jewish émigrés and refugees on design theory and culture in the United States. She is currently writing a book on the architect Alfred Preis, a refugee from Nazi-occupied Austria, who designed some of Hawai‘i’s most significant examples of midcentury modern architecture. Her essays on Alfred Preis and Frederick Kiesler have appeared in numerous books and journals.

Graham Hart, AIA, is co-founder of architecture firm Kokomo Studio and teaches as a lecturer at the University of Hawai`i School of Architecture.  He is a past president of Docomomo US Hawaii Chapter and co-chaired the 2019 National Docomomo Symposium. Graham’s professional and academic research work focuses on mid-century architecture in the tropics, where Graham has documented forgotten modern gems and led restoration and education efforts for buildings of this period.  Graham serves as an advisory board member of Liljestrand Foundation.


Lorraine Minatoishi is the president of AEPAC, an award-winning architecture and engineering firm specializing in historic preservation. Educated at Waseda University in Tokyo, graduating with a Ph.D. in Engineering in 1999. As a student intern, Lorraine worked in the office of Ossipoff, Snyder and Rowland. She accompanied Ossipoff on site visits and asked him questions about his designs, trying to understand the intricate roof shapes and building forms. Sid Snyder was Lorraine’s first boss, and they continue to discuss architecture and work on projects together. Minatoishi then went on to produce an award-winning documentary, Aloha Buddha in 2011, which covered the history of Japanese immigration, religion and architecture in the Hawaiian Islands. Lorraine is presently serving on the National AIA Historic Resources Committee, AIA Hawaii State Board Council, and Board of Friends of Kapiolani Park Preservation Society.


So incredibly refreshing to see a residence unmolested by unsympathetic ownership. The personal touches, stories and tales from the last 67 years provide an amazing tapestry from which we can appreciate this architectural masterpiece. May the preservation of this house inspire not only its’ preservation but also that of other modernist examples in Hawai`i. Thank you.

— Carl Jones, Melbourne, Australia

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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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