The designers (in this case being Belzberg Architects) start out describing their classy creation as a residence nestled between ‘cooled lava flows’. This automatically strikes you as something romantic and yet exhilarating. And perhaps that was the intention of the architects of the fascinating Kona Residence, a house design that follows the strategic points of its plot rather than just occupying the site as a linear arrangement.
To that end, the residence comprises of a series of pods, as opposed to a singular structure. All of these pods are located along apt positions of the site that offer the inhabitants grand views of the surrounding volcanic mountains of the east and the vast ocean in the west. And, as can be comprehended from their individual scopes, each pod also signifies variant user circulation areas. So overall, they are arranged in the manner of two sleeping pods with their common areas, an entertainment/media room pod, a master bedroom pod and a primary living area pod. These spaces are connected via a central axis that doubles up an extended gallery-corridor for the breathtaking views of the outdoors.
However, beyond the allure of stylish spatial forms, the Kona Residence also boasts of low-impact and green architectural considerations. In that regard, the roofing system flaunts its array of photovoltaic cells, while the utilization of dark-stained lava stone aids in heating water (for the pool) through solar radiation. All of these sustainable features are topped off with a rainwater harvesting system that accounts for the replenishment of an aquifer inside the ritzy property.
There is also an elegant vernacular side to the whole affair, with the Kona Residence exhibiting the use of two particular building materials found in traditional Hawaiian designs – teak and lava rock. These teak wood components were conscientiously reclaimed and recycled from barns and even trains tracks. And, the interesting part is how they were inducted into the building with a modernist flair; all with the help of advanced 3D modeling and digital assembly via CNC machinery.
Lastly, the ‘piece de resistance’ is delivered through those magnificently crafted entry pavilion that are inspired by the intricacy of local basket weaving techniques. These are complemented by machined ceilings and screens, thus alluding to the elements of Hawaiian wood carving, albeit in a contemporary manner.