The Kukui'ula Club House is a perfect example of beautiful Plantation architectural style.

Distinct Hawaii Architectural Style Has Roots in Islands’ Past


The Hawaiian Plantation Style of architecture can be traced back to the early twentieth century. During that period many large structures were being built in Honolulu in the Hawaiian Renaissance style even as residential areas on the outskirts of town were being built in the emerging Hawaiian plantation style.

Hawaiian Plantation Style – The Early Days

Hawaiian plantation homes in the early days may be generally described as having a low-profile wood fame with vertical plank siding. Large porticos were also common. Perhaps the most distinct feature of these Hawaiian plantation homes was their roofs which tended to be wide-hipped with deep-bracketed eaves.

The name of the architectural style comes from the plantation laborers who came to Hawaii from China, Japan, the Philippines, Portugal and many other countries to work on sugarcane plantations, and to a lesser extent pineapple plantations, rice farms and other agricultural endeavors. The plantation style was often used in the homestead areas that housed plantation laborers.

Modest in size and reflecting a unique Island charm, Hawaiian plantation style architecture blends nicely with the Hawaiian environment. Hawaiian plantation architectural style is somewhat similar to what is known on the mainland as a bungalow style home.

The Fall and Rise of Plantation Style Architecture in Hawaii

The Hawaiian Plantation architectural style began to fall out of popularity during the 1970s and 1980s when other more modern styles from California and the West Coast were commonly used when building Hawaii homes.

This trend changed again in the late 1990s when a more contemporary version of the traditional Hawaiian plantation style architecture began to appear in the Hawaiian Islands. Large renovation projects such as Honolulu’s Victoria Ward Centers and the Ala Moana Shopping Center utilized the plantation-style wide-hipped roof as did the new towers of the Hawaiian Village Hotel.

Plantation Architecture in the Islands

Numerous communities on other Hawaiian Islands have concentrations of historical homes built in the plantation style reflecting the agricultural roots of these areas. In the burgeoning area of Kapolei in West Oahu large residential developments adapted the Hawaiian plantation style to modern times.

On Maui the plantation style is seen in Lahaina and Wailuku as well as Paia, Haiku and Makawao. Lanai City on the island of Lanai also has many Hawaiian plantation style homes. In many areas the historic plantation style homes have been carefully restored while others exist in a more rustic state yet still retain their charm and functionality.

Plantation Architecture Style on Kauai

The island of Kauai has plantation style homes on all parts of the island from Haena and Wainiha on the north shore to Kekaha on the west side. The new planned community of Kukuiula on Kauai’s south shore has adopted the plantation style as its overall theme including a plantation style clubhouse and spa.

Homes at Kukuiula are plantation-style cottages ranging in size from 1,500 square feet to more than 4,000 square feet. Local building materials such as lava rock and koa wood are utilized and the homes have high-pitched roofs, glass doors that open to take in the breezes and large lanais to enjoy indoor/outdoor living.

The Kukuiula community is built in the style of an old plantation village combined with tropical elements, and future plans call for a boutique hotel called The Lodge at Kukuiula with cottages and plantation villas.

Currently there are numerous plantation style homes offered for sale through Coldwell Banker Bali Hai Realty from the north shore in Haena and Wainiha to the south shore in Poipu. 

Riverside plantation home in Hanalei

Aliomanu Plantation Hale

Hale Kinipaka, Waipake

Pu’uwai O’ Kealia

Pavilions at Seacliff

Kauai Realty Services and Vacation Accommodations

If you are considering buying a home on Kauai you can see some of the island’s best real estate deals, including plantation style homes, by browsing through the Coldwell Banker Bali Hai Realty Kauai Real Estate Galleries, or you can use the Map-Based Kauai Home Search.

For the finest quality Kauai vacation rentals including luxury estates, condos, cottages and beach villas, see our Kauai Vacation Rental Galleries or use our new Map-Based Vacation Rental Search feature.

Also please feel free to give us a call. The Bali Hai Realty staff will be happy to help you find the perfect Kauai vacation rental or assist you in the process of buying or selling a Kauai home.

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