COURTESY PAUL DYSON
"The Healer" is among Dale Zarrella's five works for the clubhouse.
A golf clubhouse borrows plans that Frank Lloyd Wright drew for Marilyn Monroe
Waikapu, Maui » If circumstances had been different, the imposing rose-colored structure that stands in Waikapu, in the foothills of the West Maui Mountains, would have wound up as a vacation home for Marilyn Monroe and her playwright-husband Arthur Miller -- instead of the clubhouse that's the centerpiece of The King Kamehameha Golf Club.
In 1957, the jet-setting couple asked renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright to design an escape for them near rustic Roxbury, Conn.
Wright brought out a design he'd tried to build twice before -- once in 1949 as a luxury residence for a wealthy family in Fort Worth, Texas; three years later as a home on the cliffs of Acapulco Bay for a Mexican Cabinet official. Both projects had been abandoned.
For the Monroe-Miller retreat, Wright revised the drawings to include, among other features, a cinema with a film vault, a nursery and a swimming pool with a gentle slope leading to a running brook.
When the couple's marriage dissolved in 1958, however, so did their dream of building the 10,000- to 14,000-square-foot country estate. Wright died the following year, and for the next 30 years, the blueprints were tucked away in the archives of Taliesin West, an architectural firm in Scottsdale, Ariz., that grew from Wright's practice.
In 1988, Wright's design was reborn after Hawaii entrepreneurs Howard Hamamoto and Masaru "Pundy" Yokouchi and their Tokyo business partner, Takeshi Sekiguchi, visited Taliesin West.
They planned two golf courses in Waikapu -- Sandalwood (now Kahili) Golf Course and the Waikapu Valley Country Club (now The King Kamehameha Golf Club) -- and envisioned the latter's clubhouse to be an attraction in itself.
The three partners focused on Wright drawings that had never been executed. Taliesin West architects suggested the "Marilyn Monroe house"; reflecting the elegance and dignity of a manor, they thought it would be an ideal choice.
Completed in May 1993 at a cost of $27 million, the 75,000-square-foot clubhouse retains the integrity of Wright's design. Taliesin West's John Rattenbury, a Wright apprentice and the architect of record, describes it as "one of the most fascinating and challenging projects I have ever worked on."
Rattenbury and his team had to significantly expand Wright's original work, as well as make adjustments for its hilly location.
"To preserve the original scale and proportions, we put two-thirds of the building underground," Rattenbury recalls.
COURTESY NAGAMINE PHOTO STUDIO
Herb Kawainui Kane painted a mural showing a line of ancient chiefs in full feather regalia.
The magnificent concrete-and-steel structure celebrates Wright's genius and flair for drama and detail. Rising 32 feet high, the roof of the main dining room is a 100-foot dome with a 25-foot skylight. Circular wings marked by barrel-vaulted roofs and gently curved planes and parapets radiate from this area. Broad terraces open to a breathtaking panorama that encompasses Haleakala Volcano, the verdant plains of Central Maui and two coastal views -- Maalaea Bay to the south and Hookipa Bay to the north.
The geometric-patterned carpet, mahogany and stained glass double front doors, ornate etchings on the elevators and the abstract glass art (including the glass and brass railings of the main stairwell and the stained glass panel over it) also are Wright designs.
One of Rattenbury's favorite elements is the main dining room's chandelier, composed of concentric rings of 1 1/2 -inch acrylic tubing. "It looks like a spaceship," he says. "It's an inverted dome -- like a dish -- and electric motors lower it up and down. It cost a small fortune."
But Rattenbury says money was no object. "I kept asking, 'What's the budget?' Finally, I was told, 'Mr. Sekiguchi says don't worry about money; you only worry about design.' It was unbelievable. That's the only time in my life that has ever happened."
In October 1993, the Waikapu Valley Country Club became the Grand Waikapu Resort, Golf & Spa after a change in ownership and management. In April 1999, management again changed hands, and the Grand Waikapu golf course was closed and no longer maintained. The clubhouse, however, remained available for special events and functions.
Tokyo tycoon Makoto Kaneko purchased the Waikapu golf courses in July 2004 through one of his companies, MMK Maui, and began restoration of the courses and clubhouse.
RE-Opened in May, The King Kamehameha Golf Club offers 400 memberships to Hawaii residents and 400 to mainland and international residents. The club's three banquetmeeting rooms and 3,800-square-foot pro shop -- the largest in Hawaii -- are open to the public.
For information call Rick Castillo, director of golf operations and memberships, (808) 249-0092 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The concrete-and-steel King Kamehameha Golf Club clubhouse includes a 100-foot dome, with a 25-foot skylight, over the dining room.
BACK TO TOP
Art and Architecture
When Makoto Kaneko began renovations of The King Kamehameha Golf Club clubhouse in July 2004, he made a commitment to honor island culture and history in a selection of works in Hawaiian themes.
The Sculptor: Dale Zarrella
Hailing from Southington, Conn., Dale Zarrella doesn't have an ounce of Hawaiian blood, but his work reflects a clear connection to the culture. He contributed five eye-catching sculptures to the clubhouse -- two cast in bronze and three of solid koa wood. The bronze "Kahuna Laau Lapaau (The Healer)" is arguably the most impressive of the group.
Says Zarrella, "I thought about him for several weeks and one night the vision came of him gathering herbs in the mountains and on his return, stopping at his favorite place to meditate and rest on a carpet of moss near a flowing waterfall."
Soon, live Hawaiian medicinal plants will surround the sculpture -- essential elements of the work. In Zarrella's hands, cold, hard metal has been transformed into a scene of warmth, wisdom, joy, peace and love -- "the essence of The Healer," he says.
The Painter: Herb Kawainui Kane
Herb Kawainui Kane painted a stunning 15-by-7-foot mural, "Na Alii -- A Gathering of Chiefs," for the clubhouse.
The painting depicts a summit of chiefs of ancient Hawaii, resplendent in feather cloaks, capes and helmets. At each end are young warrior chiefs bearing feather standards. The guard on the left holds a stone-headed club; the guard on the right holds a shark's-tooth weapon. A third guard sounds a blast on the trumpet shell. A chanting priest, also of chiefly class, holds aloft a stalk of ti as a signal that peace must be observed.
Says Kane, "This assemblage of figures is conjectural, but we know that such meetings of ruling chiefs were frequently held. Kamehameha wears a cloak made entirely of yellow feathers, an emblem of his supreme status as the king of Hawaii Island."
COURTESY NAGAMINE PHOTO STUDIO
Pua Van Dorpe's framed tapa prints all bear components of ancient Hawaiian designs.
Art And Architecture Of The King Kamehameha Golf Club
The Tapa Maker: Pua Van Dorpe
Inspired by ancient tapa, which Pua Van Dorpe calls her "ambassadors from the past," each piece is an original design, completely different from the rest. All the components of the designs, however, are ancient in origin.
"At times," her husband, Bob, recalls, "Pua would wake up in the morning and know exactly what she was going to do. Other times, the tapa would lie blank for days while she walked around and stared at it. Then all of a sudden something would strike her, and she would start to create the design."
Coincidentally, Van Dorpe was growing 200 wauke (paper mulberry) saplings in her yard when the clubhouse commission was offered. She used 110 of them to complete the job.
"The wauke was about ready to harvest when Pua was asked to make the tapa," Bob Van Dorpe says. "The timing was perfect; it was as though it had been planned."
The Featherworker: Jo-Anne Kahanamoku-Sterling
Known for her superb featherwork, Jo-Anne Kahanamoku-Sterling created a handsome 4-by-5-foot cape using blue peacock feathers; chicken feathers dyed bright yellow; and yellow, red and black feathers from the golden pheasant.
A large crescent in blue --developer Makoto Kaneko's favorite color -- is the cape's dominant feature. "My interpretation of the blue crescent is that it represents the universe, the meeting of sky and ocean," says Kahanamoku-Sterling.
The cape's other colors also are significant. To her, black symbolizes spirit, the essence of life; yellow, enlightenment; red, the blood of the ancestors.
According to Kahanamoku-Sterling, featherwork is very tedious; even the simplest designs demand great care and attention. "It's like any artist. They put a part of themselves into their work. A lot of me went into this cape."
© 2006 THE FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT FOUNDATION
TALIESIN WEST, SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ.
Architect Frank Lloyd Wright's sketch notes that it was made for "Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Miller." The design was modified for a golf clubhouse on Maui.