Sustainable local wood designs earn architecture students awards

Awards for a competition introducing students to the strength and beauty of local woods that are sustainably produced in Hawaiʻi’s forests went to University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa School of Architecture students. The Ano of Excellence awards from Puʻuhonua Society and awards at the Innovation+Imagination (I+I) Student Challenge were presented on October 15.

“Where the Light Shines Through,” by Kiana Dai. (Photo credit: Brad Goda)

The I+I Student Challenge allows students to learn about the proper ways to design for wood, and how to safely use all the tools they need to reach their own creative expression. Puʻuhonua Society, a community arts organization that supports artists and cultural practitioners who are rooted in the value system of Hawaiʻi nei, supported the I+I Student Challenge by visiting the show and recognizing students with their own set of awards.

“Participating in the I+I Student Challenge is an important opportunity for students because they can learn so much while having fun and being creative, and Puʻuhonua Society has gone on to contribute ongoing sponsorship of awards for these young designers and artists,” said Steve Hill, director of the fabrication laboratory in the School of Architecture. “By working with a selection of woods grown right here in Hawaiʻi, they can begin to understand the importance of this living natural resource.”

Puʻuhonua Society student award winners:

“A Bird House,” by Beau Nakamori. (Photo credit: Brad Goda)

Kiana Dai won an Ano of Excellence award for her piece “Where the Light Shines Through.”

“During COVID-19, almost everything we produced for our classes was digital, and learning how to design with wood has been a refreshing new way to express myself as a designer,” said Dai.

Griffin Ward won an Ano of Excellence award for his piece “Valley of Light.”

“I had an amazing experience and got to meet a bunch of intriguing artists and woodworkers,” Ward said. “I think it was important to explore a more artistic side to architecture, one where you are not fixated on codes and a budget but can really focus on how your piece is experienced by others.”

I+I Student Challenge winners:
Beau Nakamori won first place in the I+I Student Challenge for his piece “A Bird House,” which was crafted entirely from local woods. Nakamori also won second place for his piece “Beaux.”

“The I+I Challenge allows students a rare opportunity to work with native and local Hawaiian woods,” said Nakamori. “Understanding this concept of working with our existing environment over a foreign or imported one is a crucial step toward sustainability and identity.”

Dai won third place in the I+I Challenge for her piece “Where the Light Shines Through.”

Dai said, “I’ll take a lot of what I learned in the I+I student challenge and also in Steve’s 699 course with me into my future landscape architecture designs!”

See more of the pieces on display at Hawaiʻi’s Woodshow 2022.