Mid-century modern buildings
Near the end of Kalakaua Avenue, past Waikiki towards the base of Diamond Head, sits a strip of mid-century buildings on the Makai side (ocean side) of Kapiolani Park. Plantation style and contemporary houses also fill the neighborhood further along, but for our purposes it’s the mid-rise and high-rise buildings that give the “Gold Coast” its tropical modernist vibe.
Comprised of a few upscale hotels, vacation rental buildings, condominiums, Co-ops and private clubs, this area is close enough to Waikiki for convenience sake yet far enough removed to exist in its own mid-century bubble.
Largely untouched since the building boom of the 1950s and 60s, there’s a handful of notable buildings we like amongst the dozen or more that line Kalakaua Avenue in this area.
Traveling from Waikiki towards Diamond Head, the first structure of note is the Vladimir Ossipoff designed Outrigger Canoe Club (2909 Kalakaua Ave.), circa 1963, a private beach club where the inside and outside become one via open walls and a lovely trellis-covered lanai.
The 6-story Castle Surf co-op apartment building at 2937 Kalakaua Avenue features built-in lanai breeze blocks and a unique concrete relief design on its Mauka side (mountain side). It was designed by architect A.U. Sturges, circa 1966.
Two doors down is the Japanese-inspired Diamond Head Ambassador Apartments at 2957 Kalakaua Ave. designed by Vladimir Ossipoff in 1959 while right next door is another Ossipoff building, the Diamond Head Apartments at 2969 Kalakaua Ave. This 14-story stunner was years ahead of its time when it went up in 1957.
A fews doors further down at 3015 Kalakaua Ave. is the gorgeous Oceanside Manor, circa 1963, which is fronted by a wall of natural lava rock, and near the end of the street on the Mauka side is 3056 Kalakaua, a 9 story clean-lined modernist apartment building that went up in 1968.
Finally, the end of the block offers two really nice late 1950s buildings; the 11-story Seabreeze Apartments (3065 Kalakua Ave.) which boasts a vertical Hawaiian modernist mural running up its Mauka side, and the 8-story Co-op Kainalu Apartments at 2801 Coconut Avenue, right next door.
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