Kahua Kuili


A gathering place for cowboys and surfers alike, where each building serves a specific purpose.

You know company has arrived when you hear the rattle of wooden slats on the bridge. Turning down a dirt road at the base of Pu’u Kuili, looking out over a landscape that stretches to the Pacific Ocean, guests feel like they left time behind, with the design of the home so firmly rooted in local history. 

In a previous era, ranchers and their families would come down from the mountains to surf and fish, staying in rustic camps made of simple shelters around a gathering lawn. Taking up this tradition, the buildings here collect where they are most comfortable on the land.

“The camp where cowboys and surfers hang out together.”

The atmosphere is relaxed, and everything that can be outdoors is. Loosely stacked stones outline a dining area under the shelter of a tree, and would-be porches are where you’ll find open-air baths instead. The pool, almost water-trough like, is the perfect place to cool off on a hot day.

Materials offer the appearance of simplicity, belying the craft and care required for their use. Pillars are adorned with interwoven rope lashing that evokes the historic ranches, while concrete perfectly matches the amber tones found in surrounding grasses and lava flows.

“Ranch buildings are not about the architecture, but how they’re arranged, with each talking to each other in a fairly informal way.”
Greg Warner, Partner, Walker Warner

Balanced with the natural terrain, it feels like the property has evolved over time. A breezeway between two buildings straddles a lava depression, revealing rock formations below, while the courtyard beyond offers a sense of open space—open to the beauty of place, and the people you share it with. 

Process & Details

Summer Camp

The two-acre lot unfolds throughout the site, with architecture that evokes remnant buildings from an original ranch.

Gather Around

Each building is oriented to “talk” to the others, with informal nooks, porches, and outdoor gathering spaces helping to create a sense of community centered around a gathering lawn.

Framing the Pu'u

The kitchen’s high roofline frames views of the adjacent hills, offering guests a glimpse of the morning sun as it rises over the peaks.

Project info



Senior Project Manager

Architectural Staff

Amadeo Bennetta, Rachael Koffman, Michael Boes



Philpotts Interiors


David Y. Tamura Associates


Maryl Construction


Matthew Millman


  • AIA Honolulu, Design Awards, Award of Excellence


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