Hale Mau’u by Walker Warner Architects sits low in the Hawaiian landscape

Shallow gabled roofs allow the pavilions of this vacation home from Walker Warner Architects to embrace the gentle volcanic slope of Hawaii’s Big Island.

The vacation property is called Hale Mau’u – hale means house in Hawaiian, and mau’u is a type of native grass.

Hale Mau'u home in the Hawaiian landscape
Hale Mau’u lies low against the gently sloping volcanic landscape

It sits on the western shore of the archipelago’s largest island, which has a very different landscape from the tropical rainforests typically associated with Hawaii.

“For anyone who has never visited Hawaii’s Big Island, it may be surprising to find that a vast, arid plain covers a significant portion of the western side and slopes gently from Hualalai Mountain to the coast,” said Walker Warner Architects.

Hale Mau'u house from above
The house is spread over four volumes

The San Francisco-based company has completed several homes in the Hawaiian archipelago, including a beach house on Kauai and a vacation home in the Kona resort on the Big Island.

For this project, the team took local cues to design “a home like no other” – based on clients’ requests to avoid the resort’s community architecture.

The Hale Mau-u swimming pool
There is a swimming pool at the end of a central courtyard

“This site is unique in its ability to capture ocean and mountain views at the same time. Not all lots get that,” said company co-founder Greg Warner.

“The 4817 square feet (447 square meters) site setup had to do three things: capture the mountain view, capture the ocean view, and then block the view of neighboring homes.”

Road between Hale Mau'u buildings
A wooden path forms an axis through the site

The house is spread over four volumes on the 2.9 hectare site. These have different dimensions and orientations, but are united in their architectural style.

Its most notable feature is the shallow, standing-seam copper roofs, which extend well beyond the walls of each building to protect ipe wooden walkways from the sun.

The roof seams are randomly spaced to evoke the texture of a coconut palm trunk.

View of Hale Mau'u from under overhanging roofs
The shallow gabled roofs form a deep eaves around the buildings

A long driveway opens out in front of the first and smallest pavilion, which connects directly to the second and largest pavilion with the shared living room, kitchen and family room.

Through the center of the compound, an elevated walkway forms an axis from the mountain to the ocean.

It runs from the entrance through a courtyard created by three of the volumes and ends at the outdoor pool.

A series of bedrooms for family and guests are housed in the long volume connected to the main “hale”, while the master bedroom suite occupies its own block opposite.

View of the living volume from the pool
The living volume is next to the swimming pool

The interior features polished concrete floors, exposed steel columns and bare cypress ceilings.

The guest bedroom wing and living area feature barn-style sliding doors, which slide open so indoor activities can easily flow to the outdoor areas.

Hale Mau'u at night
Barn style doors open the living spaces to the landscape

The longer sides of the residential volume both slide in, creating an unobstructed view from mountain to sea.

Even when closed, horizontal openings in the gray-colored cypress façades provide natural ventilation, while exaggerating the lines of the architecture. At night, the light from within shines softly through the slatted walls.

Photography is through Matthew Millman.

Project credits:

Architecture: Walker Warner Architects
Walker Warner Architects Project Team: Greg Warner, director; Thomas Clapper, senior project manager; Dan Baciuska, Matthew Yungert, Boyce Postma and Darcy Arioli, Architectural Staff
Landscape: David Y Tamura Associates
Builder: Metzler Contracting Co
Light design: Anna Kondolf Lighting design
Construction technique: GFDS engineers
Mechanical engineering: Hakalau technique
Electrical engineering: Morikawa & Associates
Civil engineering: Aina engineers
Geotechnical Engineering: Geolabs

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