Big Island, Hawaii

Site Size: 32 acres

Project Size: 2,800 square feet

Program: The clients desired a simple and sustainable primary residence along the eastern slope of Mauna Kea on Hawaii's Big Island. The remote, 30-acre coastal site, an open green that is still used as a pasture, affords views of the ocean.

Solution: : Since strong winds are a constant on this side of the island, the architects opted for a low, one-story house at the top of the property, where the ocean views are best. Taking cues from Mies van der Rohe, the architects designed a long and thin house made of simple materials'steel, concrete, and glass. The main structure's steel frame was prefabricated in San Francisco, and the architects worked with a structural engineer to design a bolt system for assembling the frame and corrugated roof on site.

Elevated slightly above ground, the rectangular structure, enclosed for the most part by floor-to-ceiling windows and screens, is entered by crossing concrete pads above a reflecting pond. The living and dining spaces'along with three bedrooms and a veranda'point north toward the ocean. A long hall on the south side, shielded from sunlight by an industrial screen, unites the rooms and living area.

The narrow plan allows for cross ventilation and passive cooling, eliminating the need for air conditioning. A solar heating system is used for hot water.


Howard Bennett and Meng Yeo

Hamakua coast, Big Island, Hawaii

Completion Date:
January 2013

Gross square footage:
2800 sq. ft.

Craig Steely Architecture
8 Beaver Street
California 94114
PH: 415 864 7013

Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Partner in Charge: Craig Steely (Architect)
Project team:
Luigi Silverman
Seth Pare-Mayer
Mary Barensfeld

Ray Keuning

Construction/Project Supervision:
James Johnson

Bruce Damonte
(tel) 415 845 6919

CAD system, project management, or other software used: AutoCAD, Rhino



Structural system
Steel frame:
Tony Orantes
Orantes Architectural Metalworks

Michael Lynch
Michael Lynch Construction

Long Span Roofing
Epic Metals

Exterior cladding
Metal/glass curtain wall:

Extren - Duragrate