In the late 1930s, Doris Duke built Shangri-La on five acres of oceanfront property near Diamond Head and wove Islamic art and architecture into the fabric of the house. Miss Duke died in 1993, and in her will she established the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art to manage Shangri-La and open it to the public. In 2001 the Foundation hired Mason Architects to develop a Master Plan and construction documents for the restoration of the residence; and in 2002, in partnership with the Honolulu Academy of Arts, Shangri-La opened its doors to small group tours and educational programs.

The public rooms have been preserved as they were in Miss Duke’s lifetime.

The basement has been adapted for use as collections storage and conservation laboratories, and the servants’ wing has been converted to office space.

New mechanical, electrical, and security systems have been installed.

The original decorative painting on the Playhouse has been restored on the lanai ceiling, frieze, and columns.

Future preservation projects extend to the bedroom wing, kitchen and pantry, Damascus Room, and Caretaker’s Cottage.

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Award: Historic Preservation Honor Award from the Historic Hawai‘i Foundation for the Restoration of the Exterior Decorative Painting, Shangri-La Playhouse, 2007.

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Photos: David Franzen, MAI, DDFIA

Looking into the living room from the garden.