Photos by Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin Tudor revival: Houses Henry the 8th would be at home in, these designs have exposed timber framework in geometric patterns with light-colored stucco infill, usually two story.
By Burl Burlingame
A simple question, difficult to answer. It's hard to discuss architecture. We aren't given the language to do so in school, so it becomes the secret province of architects and planners and preservationists.
So it was helpful when Malama O Manoa unveiled its guidelines for homeowners recently. The Manoa-wide mailer, simple as it was, is the result of hundreds of hours of volunteer labor boiling down fuzzy concepts into concrete details.
Actually, don't use the word "concrete" around Manoa. The message in the guidelines calls for greenery and tranquility.
Craftsman: Has "art-like" details, such as extended rafters, casement windows, gable stickwork, side-wall shingles, trellised lanais and lava rock bases."When I think of Manoa -- when most people think of Manoa -- it's a lush, green area with lots of trees; homes with plantings; a nice and cool place to live because of those qualities," said resident Kozen Kaneshiro.
"It's important to understand that these are only guidelines, these are suggestions for homeowners to keep in sympathy with the environment," said Helen Nakano, Malama O Manoa president. "These are not laws."
Shingle: Generally, a large, two-story house with distinguishing towers or complex roof shapes, wood shingle roof and walls, inset lanai, outset bay windows, arched lava-rock baseThe mailing continues a community-awareness campaign conducted by Malama O Manoa, now that a proposed City ordinance creating a "special district" for Manoa has been tabled. The ordinance would have established some rules for existing homeowners and new builders to create -- and preserve -- Manoa's special character.
Bungalow: A simple house that's a Manoa classic -- low gable or hip roof, exposed rafters, large front porch, paired windows, and a detached garage"Some people thought that this ordinance would make us like Mililani or some place with strict lot and property regulations, and so they were against it," said Nakano. "Actually, it would have made things easier for homeowner to maintain what they have already."
"Having been born and raised in Manoa, I'm in favor of guidelines," said University of Hawaii historic preservation teacher Lowell Angell. "Otherwise, Manoa will eventually be overrun with huge, overscale Kahala-style houses, and its unique charm will be lost.
"It's long overdue. I just wish there were more stringent teeth to it. It's NOT a burden to protect and preserve the aspects of Manoa that I know and love; it would be more to keep your neighbor from ruins your property."
Colonial revival: First built in Manoa in the 1920s, these homes have a simple, rectangular floor plan, gambrel roof, wood siding, paneled doors, double-hung windows and full-width dormersBill Chapman, head of the Historic Preservation department at UH, said that guidelines are particularly useful in helping people "make the leap" in making a compatible neighborhood.
"It will need a longer document, with more specific questions addressed to be really useful to the average homeowner" -- this is in the works at Malama O Manoa -- "but the main problem is dealing with the planning mentality; the new buildings will be the problem, not the old buildings, which are generally maintained because people love them the way they are."
Keeping Manoa Manoa-ish in the past was helped by the "knowledge people had about their neighborhood, by the traditions of the building tradesmen themselves -- tradition design concepts were like a language -- and, frankly, because people used to worry about what the neighbors thought. People didn't DO crazy things with home designs in the past."
Plantation: A design that originated courtesy the Hawaii Sugar Planters Association, these houses have single-wall construction, hipped roofs and a rectangular floor plan"It's especially important for older neighborhoods with valuable historic resources to develop guidelines such as these," said Nakano. "We've identified more than 1,200 homes in Manoa that were built more than fifty years ago," qualifying then as potential historic structures.
"I myself had an old home in Manoa that I tore down to make a new home, but the new home was designed with that 'Manoa feeling' to it. Some think that Manoa is a neighborhood of rich people who have palatial home that are on the National Register. Some are. But most are model homes, bungalows, average houses with average people in them. That's the charm on Manoa, and what must be maintained."
Is tranquility and greenery a marketable commodity?
"You better believe it! It's why people want to live here in the first place. Preservation doesn't decrease market values, it maintains them."