The Awe Of Ossipoff: Master Of Hawaii Modern
If you’ve strolled through the breezy transoms of the Pacific Club, enjoyed a sunset under the eaves of the Outrigger Canoe Club or sighted the IBM building during a surf session, you’ve experienced the awe of Vladimir Ossipoff.
Considered the master of Hawaii modern architecture, Ossipoff designed many of the iconic buildings and homes that shape Honolulu’s architectural landscape. The “indoor-outdoor lifestyle” we so casually embrace today was born from his desire to create structures that provide a seamless transition between shelter, shade and outdoor spaces — homes in harmony with their tropical surroundings. Born in Russia, raised in Japan and educated at UC Berkeley, Ossipoff came to Hawaii in 1931 to begin his career, which grew in parallel with Honolulu’s development as a modern-day city. His legacy, according to many, is the modern Hawaii home.
“Ossipoff’s distinctive form of architecture combines the mid-century modern aesthetics of clean lines and open spaces with a brilliant sensitivity to our tropical environment,” says Donna Yamagishi, a Fine Homes Premier Specialist and REALTOR Associate at Prudential Locations. Ossipoff’s homes converse with their natural surroundings, similar to those of Frank Lloyd
Wright:[notdef] Roof lines and deep eves protect from sun, wind and traffic noise. Windows and other structures channel trade winds to provide natural ventilation. Innovative floor plans create an interplay between indoor and outdoor living areas.
Also like Lloyd Wright, Ossipoff was known for using local and sustainable building materials such as natural woods and native stone, and for his decorative details, custom fixtures and built-in cabinetry. Yamagishi, an admirer of Ossipoff, is currently representing the seller of an Ossipoff home in Diamond Head that has just come on the market. Tucked away on a quiet street near Triangle Park, Yamagishi describes the new listing as “a real mid-century treasure, and sometimes magic happens.”
Sitting on a large private lot, the home has “natural redwood walls, flowing open spaces and decorative, Japanese-inspired windows with hidden ventilation cabinets that provide natural air conditioning,” says Yamagishi.
Unlike many mid-century homes on the market these days, this one has been beautifully updated.
“In 2011, the owners renovated in a very thoughtful way,” she explains. “When done properly, renovations preserve the history and legacy of the home while addressing the needs of today’s homeowners. My clients were dedicated to Ossipoff’s design and aesthetic, while upgrading and opening up the home.”
For example, they flew in the New York designer from Henrybuilt to create custom cabinetry for the kitchen and baths that would be luxurious, but preserve the mid-century aesthetic.
“Just as Ossipoff designed with great attention to detail, my clients took great care with each detail of the updates to this home, from the structure down to the finishes, including Ann Sacks fabulous glass subway tiles,” she says.
As if the home weren’t enough of an attraction, Yamagishi expects the neighborhood to draw many interested buyers.
“This is a special home in a lovely location,” she says. “It has a real neighborhood feel: wide streets with sidewalks, large, beautiful mature trees, people walking their dogs. This is a place where people know each other and look out for each other. Many owners have been there for decades.”
As fewer Ossipoff homes remain intact, their value deepens. Diamond Head is one of the most desirable and expensive neighborhoods on Oahu. In 2014, the average price per square foot is $1,012, having risen steadily since 2009.[notdef] There are 18 single-family homes currently listed for sale in Diamond Head, ranging in price from $1.95 million for a 2-bedroom, 2-bath home in original 1960 condition to $14.4 million for a 4-bedroom, 4-bath home on the slopes of Diamond Head overlooking the ocean.
For more information on this or other Diamond Head properties, call 377-4646.