Pāpa’aloa Homestead

Pāpa'aloa, Big island, Hawaii

The Pāpa’aloa Homestead is an off-grid home with panoramic views along the Big Island’s Hāmākua coast. The openness that embraces this view comes at the expense of exposure to intense winds and rain during the wet season and sun and heat during dry times. We committed to designing a house open to the land and the sky, that not only created an awareness of the movement of the sun through the day, but also offered protection from the extreme elements.

We accomplished this by creating a spoke-and-wheel layout with an exterior segmented concrete ring that shields the house from extreme weather while providing deep lanais to enjoy living outside. The concrete ring supports glu-lam beams radiating from a central concrete column. Connected to this central column is an atrium filled with Hāpu’u fern, Ama’u fern, Ti plants and orchids. Sun fills this atrium spilling filtered light into the center of the house. The plant filled atrium also divides the open living area from the more private zones.

Photos: Darren Bradley