Images Essays and Reviews Biography

Borrowed Time (2017)
Foster Botanical Garden. Part of the Honolulu Biennial.

Borrowed Time is a structure that embodies the memory of both the bungalow and the plantation styles of vernacular architecture. The bungalow style (front) was associated with the lunas'/middle management homes, and the plantation style (back) was associated with workers' homes.  Thus the structure as a whole refers to the hierarchy of power and status on the plantations. It has a front is largely white, and the back is largely unpainted.

Since characteristics of both became woven through homes built in the 1920s-40s*, I also wanted to convey a sense of the complicated and compelling ways in which historic referents become intertwined with client/carpenter choices. And we see that in the older middle/working neighborhoods right around Foster Garden, as well as in lower Punchbowl, Ka'imuki and Palolo, for example.

I'm focusing on the porch part of the house, because what differentiates historic house construction in Hawai'i from similar structures elsewhere in the U.S., is an emphasis on openness, the porosity of interior and exterior. I tried to have this in the structure. It also seemed appropriate, since it would be sited in Foster Garden. I wanted it to face Nu'uanu Valley, so that when the tradewinds (out of the Northeast) are blowing, the breeze would flow right through the structure.


* a period of time that includes 1930, the year Mary Mikahala Robinson Foster deeded the land that became Foster Garden, to the city of Honolulu.