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Visions of Paradise

BY Jenn Thornton | November 1, 2017 | Feature

A high-toned, Indo-Modern masterpiece, designed in the tradition of old Hawai‘i, opens the doorway to heaven in Windward O‘ahu.
Evoking scenes of the late heiress Doris Duke's estate, Shangri La, the floating pool pavilion is its own oasis.

TRANSLATED FROM HAWAIIAN, Hale Palekaiko means “House of Paradise.” Poetically placed on Kailua Beach in Windward O‘ahu, the location alone suggests a kind of nirvana, beautiful and unbounded, responsive to both site and surrounds—a place not only to live, but to be.

Extending to the ocean in elongated repose, the gated property is set back an uncommon 150 feet from the shoreline with no walls obstructing its watery outlook or immense oceanfront lawn. The entire property spans a vast 36,995 square feet, more than 12,000 of which is interior space. With abundant coconut trees standing sentry, the rhapsodic setting recalls old Hawai‘i. Situated midpoint on the parcel is a gracious tropical estate, featuring a powerful indoor-outdoor rapport that’s best expressed by the synergy between the architecture and one of the property’s strongest assets—the ocean. It’s a project greatly shaped by the components of an extraordinary physical fabric—wind, sun and sightlines—that assault the senses.

And, yet, it wasn’t always such a paradise. The project took 15 years to finish. There were delays, obstacles and a change in ownership before it was completed in 2015. The one constant, however, was award-winning architect Peter N. Vincent, FAIA, NCARB, managing partner of Honolulu-based firm Peter Vincent Architects. Also unchanged was the vision to “create a compound of modest scale buildings, rather than one or two large structures,” says Vincent. “In other words, the opposite of a McMansion.” Challenged by the length and slenderness of the lot, he designed a collection of eight buildings—or hale—four of which are pavilions, all unified in Hawaiian style and orientated to provide sanctuary from on-shore trade winds and corrosive elements, while creating outdoor living areas. Among the structures is a two-story, four-bedroom main house with a high-ceilinged living room, a three-bedroom guesthouse, a four-car garage and a made-to-entertain outdoor pool pavilion and spa bathhouse. Naturally ventilated interior spaces exploit connection with the outdoors.

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