Architecture students win sustainable wood design awards


“Beautie Bench” by Beau Nakamori won first place in HawaiiWoodshow 2021. (Photo credit: Brad Goda)

Introduce students to the strength and beauty of local woods that are sustainably produced in Hawaii forests, University of Hawaii at the Mānoa School of Architecture, students won prizes for Innovation + Imagination (i + i) Student Challenge, which is exhibited at Hawaii Woodshow 2021, from November 20 to December 5.

The i + i The Student Challenge is open and gives students plenty of space to explore their own interests through the rare hands-on learning opportunity. They learn the proper manners of designing for wood and how to safely use all the tools they need to achieve their own creative expression.

“Luminous Shards” won third place by Aidan Brown. (Photo credit: Brad Goda)

“Compete in a Hawaii The Woodshow event helps architecture students develop a connection between designer and material, ”said Steve hill, director of the manufacturing laboratory of the School of Architecture. “Understanding a material is important because it puts the designer’s imagination into practice and learning about that material helps the designer push the boundaries of what can be imagined. “

Student winners

Handsome Nakamori won first place in i + i Student challenge for his piece “Beautie Bench”, entirely made from local woods. Nakamori also won second place for his piece “The Primavera Box” and received the “Most Promising Young Artist” award at the Hawaii Woodshow.

“I actually let the wood tell me what to build,” Nakamori said. “If the wood has a certain crack or a nice sharp edge… that indicates how to build the part and what it wants to be. I think this has to do with why attending an event like the Hawaii Wood Show is so important for students of architecture. It enables the ability to conceive by listening. As architects, we need to listen to the existing conditions of the site and the community to understand what needs to be designed. This is our kuleana.

wooden bamboo forest
Logan Aruga’s “Forest” won the Kent Award for Best Emerging Artist. (Photo credit: Brad Goda)

Aidan Brown won third place for his piece “Luminous Shards”.

Logan aruga won the Kent Award for Best Emerging Artist with his piece “Forest”. Inspired by his family trip to Japan and his visit to the Sagano bamboo forest. Aruga created the phenomenon of filtering light through the dense bamboo stems represented by the twisting of wooden dowels and the resin-filled backlight.

“At first I was surprised. After helping set up the gallery and seeing each other’s pieces, I knew winning an award would be difficult due to the fierce competition, ”said Aruga. “However, I am very grateful to have received the Kent Award for Best Young Emerging Artist and very grateful for the help of Professor Steve Hill and my peers throughout this journey.”

Promote sustainability

Sustainability and environmental responsibility are at the heart of the School of Architecture’s curriculum. Because of Hawaii remote location, it can be difficult for architectural students to access materials that are not imported thousands of miles away.

The i + i Student Challenge breaks down this barrier. All the wood is donated by local artisanal sawmills. With this donated wood, each student receives a free set of interesting, sustainably sourced, hand-selected materials. The cycle of production, processing and transportation of this locally harvested timber is much more sustainable than imported timber. At the same time, presenting young designers (and the public through the exhibition) can raise awareness and gradually develop the market for a responsible forest industry in Hawaii.

“The public exhibition presents the work of these young voices, the next generation Hawaii thinkers and creators to the community at large, ”Hill said. “At the same time, he makes the public discover the strength and the beauty of Hawai’i-cultivated Woods. Additionally, manufacturers and the public are beginning to educate themselves on the differences between endemic species, native species, imported species, and even invasive species. Hopefully, this will lead to a deeper appreciation for all the benefits our forests offer, and it goes way beyond a bit of wood in a gallery. “

This event is an example of EUH Mānoa’s goal of creating a sustainable and resilient campus environment: within the global movement for sustainability and climate resilience (PDF) and Improve student success (PDF), two of the four objectives identified in the 2015-25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.


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