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Hawaiian Life Building

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1951, Vladimir Ossipoff. 1311 Kapiolani Blvd.
  • (Photograph by Augie Salbosa)
  • (Photograph by Augie Salbosa)

Described by the press as “one of the largest office buildings in Honolulu” at the time of its groundbreaking, the 42,500-square-foot structure does a lot with a little by maximizing the decorative potential of common functional elements. Modern forms emphasize a strong sense of line and add color and texture to the L-shaped, six-story, reinforced-concrete building. Thin vertical brise soleil, painted in vivid rainbow hues from the 1980s up till 2009, accentuate the building's height while reducing direct sunlight to the interior. The flat-roofed, cantilevered awning at the first-floor level and the two-story wing, with its cylindrical colonnade and wrought-iron stair, contribute horizontal balance. Relief from the building's crisp profile is provided by the projecting curved landing of the exterior stair. Landscaped parking in front further softens the complex. The Hawaiian Life Company was the only locally owned life insurance company in Hawaii at the time this building was constructed.

Writing Credits

Don J. Hibbard


What's Nearby


Don J. Hibbard, "Hawaiian Life Building", [Honolulu, 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, 142-142.

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