Hawaiian Modern: The Architecture of Vladimir Ossipoff

Overview

At the forefront of the postwar phenomenon known as tropical modernism, Vladimir Ossipoff (1907–1998) won recognition as the “master of Hawaiian architecture.” Although he practiced at a time of rapid growth and social change in Hawaii, Ossipoff criticized large-scale development and advocated environmentally sensitive designs, developing a distinctive form of architecture appropriate to the lush topography, light, and microclimates of the Hawaiian islands.

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Overview

At the forefront of the postwar phenomenon known as tropical modernism, Vladimir Ossipoff (1907–1998) won recognition as the “master of Hawaiian architecture.” Although he practiced at a time of rapid growth and social change in Hawaii, Ossipoff criticized large-scale development and advocated environmentally sensitive designs, developing a distinctive form of architecture appropriate to the lush topography, light, and microclimates of the Hawaiian islands.

This book is the first to focus on Ossipoff’s career, presenting significant new material on the architect and situating him within the tropical modernist movement and the cultural context of the Pacific region. The authors discuss how Ossipoff synthesized Eastern and Western influences, including Japanese building techniques and modern architectural principles. In particular, they demonstrate that he drew inspiration from the interplay of indoor and outdoor space as advocated by such architects as Frank Lloyd Wright, applying these to the concerns and vernacular traditions of the tropics. The result was a vibrant and glamorous architectural style, captured vividly in archival images and new photography.

As the corporate projects and private residences that Ossipoff created for such clients as IBM, Punahou School, Linus Pauling, Jr., and Clare Boothe Luce surpass their fiftieth anniversaries, critical assessment of these structures, offered here by distinguished scholars in the field, will illuminate Ossipoff’s contribution to the universal challenge of making architecture that is delightfully particular to its place and durable over time.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In 1964, architect Vladimir Ossipoff declared a "War on Ugliness" aimed at making Honolulu a "more beautiful place to live and work." Born in Russia in 1907, raised in Japan and educated in California, Ossipoff settled in Hawaii in 1931 and pursued a 67-year career that saw the islands transformed from a "colonial backwater" to an international tourist destination. His approach to modernism adapted regional styles to new ideas. In his hands the lanai, the traditional Hawaiian porch for outdoor living, became an organizing principle, and years before the advent of green architecture, Ossipoff emphasized his buildings' relationship to their sites and climate, using locally available materials whenever possible. His projects included residences, schools and chapels, as well as corporate headquarters, apartment towers and an airline terminal. Described by one writer as "a man no less challenging than his name," Ossipoff emerges as both an accomplished technician and a sophisticated modernist whose wife often soothed his clients with the statement, "You will like it when you see it." Five essayists place the work in its aesthetic, historical and social context. A portfolio of 21 projects and a chronology of Ossipoff's life round out the discussions. 243 b&w, 36 color illus. (Jan.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300121469
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2008
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 9.94 (w) x 10.82 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Meet the Author

Dean Sakamoto, principal of Dean Sakamoto Architects LLC, is critic in design and director of exhibitions at the Yale School of Architecture. Karla Britton is lecturer in architectural history at the Yale School of Architecture. Kenneth Frampton is Ware Professor of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University. Don J. Hibbard is an architectural historian, based in Hawaii. Spencer Leineweber is professor and director of the Heritage Center at the School of Architecture, University of Hawaii, Manoa. Marc Treib is professor of architecture at the University of California, Berkeley.

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