Winkelman Architecture Designs a Private Oasis on Hawaii’s Hanalei Bay

Multiple buildings arranged in a U-shape create a private basin with views of waterfall-striped mountains and lush landscapes

Set high along the northern ridge of Hanalei Valley, where the river enters the bay, this modestly sized lot posed contending opportunities and challenges. It is part of a high-end subdivision on Kauai’s North Shore. The client’s desire to create a private oasis while also capturing the broad site views led to this novel approach for laying out a single-family program. Since neighboring homes tightly hem in the lot, dividing up the living spaces into separate structures and distributing them in a U-shaped arrangement open toward the views creates a private basin, a secret garden framed by architecture and oriented toward Kauai’s waterfall-striped mountains and the famous Hanalei Bay. The landscape design relies heavily on lush, indigenous plants to fill out the negative spaces between buildings; the plan offers private spaces in the individual bedroom cabanas, each oriented to a specific mountain peak. Keeping the bedroom structures small encourages communal gathering in the main living space, which is situated to capture the site’s broadest viewshed. This dispersed arrangement also allows the cooling breezes of the northeast trade winds to meander through the site and buildings, offering important, natural cooling. The gentle basin, created for and reinforced by the built architecture, is accentuated with freshwater streams and pools that reflect the views and provide the opportunity for a refreshing plunge, and the small waterfalls offer acoustical cover for unwanted noises of the world outside.  

Location: Kauai County, Hawaii
Architects: Alex Lehnen & Will Winkelman, Winkelman Architecture
Landscape Architect: Todd Richardson, Richardson & Associates
Construction Start: Spring 2024
Construction Complete: Spring 2026

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