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Hanapepe Hawaiian Congregational Church

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1996, Stuart/Erickson. 3815 Hanapepe Rd.
  • (Photograph by Augie Salbosa)

A rare modern building within the town, this handsome, unassuming structure replaced a church of the 1890s that was knocked off its foundation by Hurricane Iniki. A street-facing gabled portico sends out a strong greeting, while reiterating the triangular vertical thrust of the fleche. However, the portico is but a side entrance to this nearly square sanctuary, with its hipped roof and plywood walls simulating board and batten. Striking in its simplicity, the building features an octagonal-shaped worship area made light and airy thanks to the orientation of the building with the trade winds. These pass through the paired double doorways on both side walls as well as the entrance's sliding doors. The fleche's skylights and the altar end's expanse of windows provide further illumination. The latter were to be replaced with stained glass, but the light and the exterior garden views provided by the clear glass ultimately prevailed. A large lanai off the side of the church further enhances the sense of balmy openness. This social space connects the church with the simple, single-story Sunday school.

The Hilo-based architectural partnership of Stuart/Erickson was formed in 1991 by Marty Stuart and Larry Erickson. Stuart, the senior partner, worked for many years in Micronesia before moving to Hawaii in 1975. Erickson was born near Seattle and studied architecture at the University of Washington and the Cornish Institute of Art, and later at the University of Southern California. Other buildings by this firm include the Lincoln Courtside Apartments (1993; 400 Kinoole Street), the Hospice of Hilo Building (1996; 1011 Waianuenue Avenue), and the Kawili Dental Clinic (2003; 50 W. Kawili Street), all in Hilo.

Writing Credits

Don J. Hibbard


What's Nearby


Don J. Hibbard, "Hanapepe Hawaiian Congregational Church", [Hanapepe, Hawaii], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Hawaii

Buildings of Hawaii, Don J. Hibbard. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2011, 56-56.

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