A vestige of a more tranquil Waikiki, the two-story, brick Seaside Apartments is the best surviving example of the small, garden court apartments which dotted the neighborhood prior to World War II. Immaculately detailed, the L-shaped ten-unit building, now given over to office and retail space, focuses on a paved brick-walled courtyard that is accessed from the street by a moon gate. The cantilevered second-story lanai/corridor is embellished by a wrought-iron railing with a foliate pattern entwining upwards to the roof. Fret-work doors and ample sliding windows invite cooling trade winds into the individual units.
The building is a fine example of Dahl and Conrad's modern design. The senior partner, Bjarne Dahl, a graduate in 1918 of the Chicago Technical School, worked for California architect Julia Morgan for five years. He came to Hawaii in 1926 as the supervising architect for her YWCA (OA48). Dahl turned down a partnership with Morgan and decided to make Hawaii his home. After working for two years with C. W. Dickey and then for the Territorial Department of Public Works for seven years, designing many of the buildings at Kalaupapa (ML19.8), he opened an office in 1935. In 1936, he formed a partnership with Conrad “Connie” Conrad. Conrad, born in Minnesota and having graduated with a degree in architecture from the University of Southern California, arrived in Hawaii in 1934. On December 31, 1941, following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the firm dissolved. Dahl joined the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and then returned to California in 1944. Conrad went to work at Security Diamond, which his father had founded in 1937. He operated and expanded this family business, which he sold in 1979. Over the course of their five-year partnership, Dahl and Conrad designed almost exclusively in a regional offshoot of modernism, producing numerous apartments and residences as well as commercial buildings. Many of these were located in Waikiki and have been demolished in the wake of larger-scale developments.