A painted eave before restoration.

A painted eave before restoration.

Using a stencil, John Lippert of Canning Studios replicates the original pattern.

Using a stencil, John Lippert of Canning Studios replicates the original pattern.

December 27, 2005

Decorative Painting on Shangri-La Playhouse is Restored

MAI architects Barbara Shideler and Glenn Mason worked with architectural conservators and a specialty painting studio to determine the best solution for the rehabilitation of the decorative stencil work on the Playhouse at Shangri-La, Doris Duke's Foundation for Islamic Art (see Projects: Museum Houses). The Playhouse was built by Doris Duke in 1938. Its design is based on the Chihil Sutun, a royal pavilion built in Isfahan, Iran in 1647. In an earlier restoration, the original painted surfaces were covered with decorated masonite panels and sealed with fiberglass. MAI's restoration team removed the masonite panels, applied an interlayer to preserve the original painted surfaces, and replicated the original designs in a paint that "breathes" to let the inevitable moisture escape from the wood beneath.


The Coupe residence, now under renovation, reflects the kama'aina architecture of the 1930s.

The Coupe residence, now under renovation, reflects the kama'aina architecture of the 1930s.

August 1, 200

Coupe Residence

Located above Kealakekua on the Island of Hawaii, the house is sited on a large parcel surrounded by coffee farms and former ranch lands. Built as a wedding present for the owner's mother, the structure incorporates design features of 1930s kama'aina architecture, including spacious rooms with high ceilings, wood floors, screened porches, board-and-batten siding, and a corrugated metal roof. The goal of the renovation is to enlarge the floor plan and completely upgrade the structure, yet retain the character of the original home. A new garage and gymnasium will be connected to the main house by a covered walkway, the master bedroom suite will be enlarged to include a study and dressing area, and the rear porch will be expanded for use as a breakfast room. Past attempts to "modernize" the kitchen and bathrooms will be reversed by installing new period-appropriate cabinets, appliances, and fixtures.


The Visitor Center, now under construction, offers dramatic views of the heiau.

The Visitor Center, now under construction, offers dramatic views of the heiau.

The building's broad sloping roof protects the open viewing area from the sun, wind, and rain.

The building's broad sloping roof protects the open viewing area from the sun, wind, and rain.

July 29, 2005

Visitor Center, Pu'ukohola Heiau National Historic Site

MAI's design for the new Visitor Center now under con-struction at the Pu'ukohola Heiau National Historic Site is a low-profile structure sited to maximize views of the heiau yet minimize its own visibility from the hill on which the heiau stands. Behind the Visitor Center's open viewing area are spaces for audio/visual presenta-tions, exhibits by designer Daniel Quon, paintings by noted Hawai‘i artist Herb Kane, sales and information areas, offices, and storage. The adjacent comfort station is partially built into the hillside. The lava rock and rusti-cated concrete structures blend into the surroundings, and grading and filling have been kept to a minimum by utilizing the natural topgraphy of the site, which is near Kawaihae on the Island of Hawaii.

Here in 1790-91 Kamehameha I built the heiau for the war god Kuka'ilimoku. He invited Keoua, his cousin and chief rival, to meet him there. As Keoua beached his canoe, Kamehameha's warriors killed him and placed his body on the heiau's altar. In this move Kamehameha took dominion over the island and furthered his drive to unite all the Hawaiian Islands under his rule.


The award was shared with NAVFAC Pacific and contractor Nan, Inc. (L to R: Fooney Freestone, Nan, Inc.; Peter Apo, HHF; Mel Kaku, NAVFAC; John Fullmer, MAI; Ballard Bannister and Romeo Vea, Nan, Inc.)

The award was shared with NAVFAC Pacific and contractor Nan, Inc. (L to R: Fooney Freestone, Nan, Inc.; Peter Apo, HHF; Mel Kaku, NAVFAC; John Fullmer, MAI; Ballard Bannister and Romeo Vea, Nan, Inc.)

May 31, 2005

MAI Wins Three Historic Hawai‘i Foundation Awards

On May 17 the Historic Hawai‘i Foundation presented three Preservation Awards to Mason Architects for:

  • Historic Context Study of Historic Military Family Housing in Hawaii, which provides a history of nineteen historic neighborhoods on military installations, identifies the character-defining features of each housing type within them, and guides their preservation in an accompanying Illustrated Manual for Repair and Maintenance. This study was undertaken with Belt Collins Hawai‘i and was funded by the DOD's Legacy Resources Management Program.
  • Renovation of Officers' Quarters at Palm Circle, in which the MAI historical architect joined Hawaii's Army DPW Design Branch in the renovation of kitchens and bathrooms for each of the 1905-1924 Officers' Quarters at Fort Shafter's Palm Circle National Historic Landmark.. The Army and MAI were recognized for the unique integration of the historic architect in the design process in order to protect the significant features of each house.
  • Restoration and Adaptive Reuse of Buildings 251/252, Pearl Harbor, the renovation of a "semi-permanent" two-story wooden building constructed in 1943 at Makalapa to house the Navy's Combat Intelligence Center during World War II, for continued use as offices for COMPACFLT.

Gail Grabrowsky, Mike Zagorski and Katie Slocumb

Gail Grabrowsky, Mike Zagorski and Katie Slocumb

April 19, 2005

MAI Architects Win Honolulu Triathlon Relay

MAI architects Katie Slocumb and Mike Zagorski, with their friend Gail Grabrowsky, were the fastest Relay team to finish the JAL Honolulu Triathlon on Sunday, April 17. The winning time of their "Huikau" team was 2 hours, 7 minutes, and 2 seconds.

Gail swam 1500 meters in the first leg of the relay, completing two loops between the Kapahulu Groin and Natatorium in 21 minutes and 22 seconds, ranking first among the mixed teams. She passed the timer chip to Mike, who then cycled the 40-km route from Kapiolani Park to the Hawai‘i Kai Golf Course and back in 57 minutes and 23 seconds, passing the finish line 3 minutes and 45 seconds ahead of his closest competitor and clocking the fastest time of all cyclists. Then Katie ran the last 10-km leg of the race, two laps from Queen's Beach around Kapiolani Park and in and out of Waikiki, sprinting to the finish line in 46 minutes and 27 seconds.

Each leg of the relay started and finished at Queen's Beach, where "all of the relay teams were looking at each other, calculating their advantage," said Katie, whose women's team finished second in last year's Triathlon. It was the first relay for Mike, who has raced on the US mainland, Mexico and the UK. How did he like sharing the race with two women? "The pressure was definitely on. We all gave it 110% and in the end had the winning combination," said Mike.


Nimitz Highway

April 5, 2005

Nimitz Highway - Historic Resources Survey

During preliminary planning for improvements to Nimitz Highway, MAI was hired by Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas, Inc. to conduct a survey of historic resources along its route. Nimitz Highway was built after World War II, using portions of the railroad rights-of-way through industrial Iwilei, then cutting through residential Kalihi Kai, where the highway created a seedbed for backyardl industries in the house lots abutting it. In this two-phase project MAI gathered information on 164 properties between Pacific Street and Kalihi Stream and further studied 28 pre-1960 structures. These were evaluated in the context of industries -- petroleum, pineapple canneries, poultry production -- in the project corridor. Four structures, including the 1923 Unocal pump house shown at right, were considered eligible for the National Register. This study was submitted to the Federal Highway Administration and the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation; they and the State Historic Preservation Division will officially decide which structures are eligible.


World War II Defenses at Pearl Harbor

Photo credit: Source: USS Arizona, National Park Service Museum Collection

January 10, 2005

MAI Historians Study World War II Defenses at Pearl Harbor

MAI architectural historians have completed a Building Types Assessment of the splinterproof shelters and gun emplacements that were hastily constructed in 1942 at Pearl Harbor after the December 7, 1941 attack. Anticipating further assaults from the Japanese, the 14th Naval District erected concrete fortifications on rooftops and towers, fitting them with anti-aircraft guns or equipment for spotting mines or tracking enemy ships. Air raid shelter foundations were poured in place at well-populated sites around the base and capped with prefabricated, arched concrete sections. By June 1942 Japanese war losses made an invasion of Hawai‘i unlikely, and by mid-1944 these defensive accessory facilities were being dismantled. Only a handful remain, often in remnants. MAI has prepared a Historic Context Report on these facilities, a Historic Preservation Plan, and a database to aid in preserving and maintaining these physical markers of a critical stage in our history.