Hale Lana by Olson Kundig Floats Above The Lava Bed in Hawaii

Hale Lana by Olson Kundig Floats Above The Lava Bed in Hawaii

An American architectural firm based in Seattle-Olson Kundig has used five canopy-like wooden pavilions with sliding glass doors and overhanging roofs to create this family home for a couple on a lava field in Hawaii. The duo wanted a flexible property to host large gatherings on the Big Island. Rightly said as 'Hale Lana' meaning a "Floating Home", the building is lifted slightly up the lava bed- a plain of flat lava flows. Spread over 17,200-square-foot, the house features open walkways and glass walls facing the lush greenery and the monolithic red and black rock walls surrounding the grassy property. SURFACES REPORTER (SR) presents here more about the project. Take a look:

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Olson Kundig Hale Lana house

The house appears to be hovering over the lava plains that enclose the site over a vast area- a reason why the project was named Hale Lana House, which translates to a 'Floating home'. 

Olson Kundig Hale Lana house

Five Wood Canopy-like Pavilions

The firm used five canopy-like volumes where each block covers plants and surrounds unobstructed views of the ocean. "The intention was for the home to feel like a canopy on the Hawaiian landscape, transparent between inside and outside," shared design principal Tom Kundig. 

Olson Kundig Hale Lana house

Each of these volumes has sliding glass doors on their front that opens onto the enclosed terraces swathed around each unit.

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Olson Kundig Hale Lana house

The subtle pathways defined by big trees and rocky settings lead the visitor to the entrance. Gigantic stone walls on the exterior with the glass facade wrapping the buildings joins many routes through the home. 

Double-Pitched Roofs

The house features cantilevered double-pitched roofs with deep canopies covered with corrugated metal. The architects designed these by taking cues from the traditional homes on the island. "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," Kundig added.

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Olson Kundig Hale Lana house

"However, this project takes that idea to a new level structurally with a very long cantilever and an extremely precise leading roof edge." The extensive covering stretches across each unit to cantilever over the wood decking bordering each structure. 

Olson Kundig Hale Lana house

The impressive wood shutter screens attach to the path installed in each unit to control the harsh sun rays and strong winds while allowing shade to the outdoor seating. 

Olson Kundig Hale Lana house

The Largest Structure- Interiors

The most prominent structure contains the kitchen, main living area, several bedrooms, and a sliding glass entrance door. A covered verandah joins the other four units- a guest suite, a master suite, utility space and cabana.

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Olson Kundig Hale Lana house

Wood planks clad the ceiling in the unit's interior that flawlessly continued from underneath the roof canopy.

Olson Kundig Hale Lana house


The kitchen accommodates a black bar counter, stainless steel appliances, and seating furnish the bathhouse, facing a long swimming pool sited in the backyard.

The wooden deck, benches, outdoor dining tables and couches give the abode a warm touch.

Olson Kundig Hale Lana house

Architect Jim Olson founded Olson Kundig- a Seattle-based architectural practice- in 1966. The firm's projects are centred around residential architecture.

Project Details

Project Name: Hale Lana’ translates to “Floating Home
Architecture Firm: Olson Kundig
Design principal: Tom Kundig
Interior design: Debbie Kennedy
Project manager: Todd Matthes
Source: https://olsonkundig.com/projects/
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