Hawaiian Architecture


Hawaiian architecture is a unique style of architectural arts developed and employed primarily in the Hawaiian Islands of the United States — construction and various other structures indicative of the people of Hawai’i and the environment and culture in which they live. Though based on imported Western styles, unique Hawaiian traits make Hawaiian architectural styles set alone against other styles. Hawaiian architecture reflects the history of the islands from antiquity through the kingdom age, from its territorial years to statehood and beyond.

History of Hawai

The various styles through the history of Hawai’i are telling of the attitudes and the spirit of its people. Hawaiian architecture is said to tell the tale of how indigenous native Hawaiians and their complex society in ancient times slowly evolved with the infusion of new way from beyond its borders, from the early European traders, the visiting whalers and fur trappers from the Canadian wilds, the missions of the New Englanders and French Catholics, the communes of the Latter-day Saints from Utah, the plantation manual worker cultures from the Orient to the modern American metropolis that Honolulu is today.


Traditional Hawaiian architecture experienced its first revolution with the arrival of Congregational disciple Hiram Bingham. Presbyterian religious peoples followed suit and settled in the major port towns of Honolulu and Lāhainā. Upon their arrival, they erected the primary frame houses in Hawai’i, employing a style derived from the easy Congregational meeting-houses and farmhouse vernacular structures of New England.


They were simple homes with high-pitched roofs and overlap weatherboards called clapboards. The simplicity and unassuming character of these structures were derived from the puritan principles—that plainness was a virtue of true Christians. As years passed, the New England style morphed into a characteristic style called Hawaiian mission architecture. New England methods and materials were replaced by methods and materials readily offered to Hawaiians.


Hawaiian mission architecture moved away from construction solely using wood and experimented through the use of coral blocks hewn from the reefs of the Hawaiian Islands. Coral seemed plentiful and were similar to bricks used for construction in New England. When Queen Kaʻahumanu converted to the Congregational value of Christianity, she commissioned the construction of a major church in what is now downtown Honolulu. Kawaiahaʻo Church is single of the longest-lasting relics of Hawaiian mission architecture using coral blocks. Today, Kawaiahaʻo Church stands closest to the Mission Houses Museum, surviving examples of Hawaiian mission architecture using wood.


In the previous years of the Hawaiian monarchy and early years of the territorial period, Hawaiian Romanesque style came into popular use. The approach hearkened back to the European designs of the 11th and 12th centuries. Hawaiian Romanesque engaged principles and forms used by Romans in later periods of the early empire. The diversity was that Hawaiian builders used dark basalt boulders giving the look of an exclusively Hawaiian style. Such buildings usually used smoothed arches, barrel vaults and groin vaults and cruciform piers for maintain. The different buildings of the Bernice P. Bishop Museum are inside the Hawaiian Romanesque style.

Experience the Romance of the Island …Through It’s Architecture and History

cropped-aae86911d6376240dd5fe092412f6a3ed0d47d94-1.jpegExperience Catalina in a new and unique way with our early evening excursions. Icons of Avalon prides itself on providing detailed information that we bet you did not know about Catalina and the town of Avalon. Call or e-mail us today for additional details on our wine tasting events.  
A Tour of Avalon

scenic-4 Discover the most relaxing and memorable way to experience the magical island of Catalina on our historic waterfront architectural tour. This guided tour will delight and entertain you with Avalon’s famous landmarks, it’s various designers, and how Hollywood contributed to the island of romance.Tours start at 4:00 p.m. (Winter) or  4:30 p.m.

Experience Catalina in a new and unique way with our early evening excursions. Icons of Avalon prides itself on providing detailed information that we bet you did not know about Catalina and the town of Avalon. Call or e-mail us today for additional details on our wine tasting events.

casino-5(Summer) and last approximately 90 minutes, including the wine tasting.  This tour is also offered without the wine and lasts approximately 60 minutes.  Custom tours and times available upon request.Flavors of the Vineyard

Our wine tastings are conducted inside Avalon’s finest wine bar that specialize in not only a wide selection of unique wines, but also gourmet specialties. These specialties include sushi and various boutique items. Currently, our wine tasting tours feature


French Rose’ and various Rose” from around the world.Reservations are required. Please contact us at (310) 502-6131 to make your reservation. 

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