Winners Announced

A total of 111 visionary proposals from Hawai’i, continental US, and abroad were submitted to the BUILDING VOICES DESIGN COMPETITION, organized by the University of Hawai’i School of Architecture and the University of Hawai’i Center for Community Design as part of the BUILDING VOICES DESIGN FESTIVAL.

The BUILDING VOICES DESIGN COMPETITION was a single ­stage international design competition seeking innovative solutions that addressed Hawai‘i’s unique geographic location, cultural richness, global visibility, and ecological diversity.

Winners of the BUILDING VOICES DESIGN COMPETITION were announced on Earth Day, April 22, 2017 in the open-air rotunda of the Hawai‘i State Capitol. Xavier Vendrell, acting Director of Auburn University's Rural Studio, handed out awards alongside the competition chairs Karla Sierralta and Brian Strawn.

A public exhibition of select competition entries was displayed on 'DESIGN ISLANDS', a traveling installation designed by Strawn+Sierralta and built by a team of over 30 University of Hawai‘i architecture students and alumni. 

'DESIGN ISLANDS' will be popping up in locations across Hawai‘i, having already been displayed at AIA Honolulu's Center for Architecture, the Hawai'i State Capitol, and the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa's School of Architecture.


OUTSIDE HOUSE by Erin Moore / FLOAT Architectural Research and Design

OUTSIDE HOUSE is an example of using design to make a place where the land comes first. It is two small pavilions, the “mauka” and the “makai”, that structure space for living outside on agricultural land in upcountry Maui. 

Both pavilions are demountable. The steel frame is fabricated as a kit out of pieces that can each be lifted by two people, erected without heavy equipment, and bolted into place. 

Living outside has health benefits for people of all ages: lowered stress, improved circadian rhythms, increased physical activity, exposure to plant and soil microbiota, and access to local plant foods. Possible models for land stewardship for urban and agricultural sites include habitat restoration at all scales, community land trusts, conservation easements, and permaculture. 

The Outside House can be fitted with rainwater collection, solar panels, and a composting toilet for complete self-sufficiency. Integration into an ecological whole has immeasurable value.

Photography by Olivier Koning 

second PLACE

URBAN MARKET by Christina Holcom 

Vertical farm as transit-connected, educational hub and culinary center. 

Located on an urban site, near a future rail station and sited alongside the Kapālama Canal, the Urban Market is a vertical farm where produce can be grown and sold to the public. Visitors can shop for produce and explore the towers to observe sustainable, hydroponic agriculture in action. 

The row of towers along the canal side are also used as educational hubs for the public to learn about sustainable methods of food production. Classes will be taught by students at Honolulu Community College, as well as, other community members.

On the mauka of the Urban Market sits the Cultural Gardens, where traditional Hawaiian crops are grown and the community can tend to the crops. On the makai side is the Picnic Plaza, an outdoor gathering space for picnics and public events. 

third PLACE


Interactive, neighborhood composting parks for local residents and families.

Compost Playgrounds are interactive composting sites that encourage families to incorporate composting into their daily lives. Simulating a playful process, Compost Playgrounds, utilize two separate populations (children & parents) at different periods of the cycle to produce a single product, compost.

Compost Playgrounds re-think our waste as a resource, where users are directly involved in the composting process to promote a change of perspective and definition of “waste”. Compost produced is either retrieved for personal use or returned to site, creating continuous cycles that stimulate a growing community and a growing site.



by Benjamin Griffin / AHL

Leveraging new transit-oriented development to restore O‘ahu’s natural landscape.


by Arnulfo Castillo

Reclaiming ahupua‘a with a network of solar powered, water cleaning ‘eco-machines’, while supporting education.


by Jordan Luo

Solar-powered lanterns inspired by the huaka‘i pō, encourage “soft exercise” for seniors and families on Sand Island.



by HsuanLing Chen

Viewing platform for theHonolulu skyline that acts as an education center for native Hawaiian plants.


by Jay Moorman, Melise Nekoba and Rubinson Intong

Restoring the Waikīkī watershed with wetlands, food production and green corridors.


by Khoa Nguyen and Duc Tran

Sustainable housing that bridges across Kapālama Canal and connects directly to the neighborhood’s rail station.



by Linda Komlos & Stephen Luoni / University of Arkansas Community Design Center

Building community around a new local food system.


by Mason Chow

Sustainable fishing and farming strategies for local consumers and producers.


by Joo-Hyun Park

Invasive tree species as a home building material.



by Marcos Cruz Ortiz, Rebecca Ogi, and Masen Mactagone

Honolulu’s new center for public space and recreation.


by B. Keolamaika‘i Annino

Encouraging healthy eating with a transformable farmers market that is inspired by the structure of the Hawaiian hale wa‘a, canoe house. 


by Shelby Mendes

Garden that offers the aging community la‘au lapa‘au, Hawaiian holistic healing.



by Daniel Zepeda Rivas and Victoria Eugenia Soto Magan

Breathable facade system that reduces energy usage and increases energy production.


by Sharla Batocal

Providing for the homeless population while preserving Hawaiian culture and promoting environmental awareness.



On April 7, 2017 a  jury of 11 notable community members, design leaders, academics, and public officials came together from around the world to decide the competition winners. The in-person jurors assembled at the historic Jean Charlot Residence in Honolulu's Kahala neighborhood.


Xavier Vendrell (Jury Chair)

Acting Director of Rural Studio, an undergraduate architecture program at Auburn University. Rural Studio was founded on the belief that all people, rich and poor, deserve the benefit of good design. Students at Rural Studio learn to be “citizen architects” by living within and working in service of underserved communities in West Alabama’s Black Belt region, building safe and beautiful homes and buildings. 

Healoha Johnston

The first Curator of Arts of Hawai‘i at the Honolulu Museum of Art. Her diverse background in the arts allows her to oversee a collection that crosses museum departments. Healoha frames critical conversations about the impact of traditional and modern Hawaiian arts on both local and global cultural landscapes.

Joseph J. Ferraro FAIA

Founding partner at Ferraro Choi and Associates Ltd., a Honolulu-based architecture firm. He continues his 30 years of work on research facilities for the National Science Foundation in Antarctica, is also an adjunct professor at the University of Hawaii School of Architecture, and a recipient of the US Green Building Council’s Pioneer award for his sustainable design practice.


Kūha‘o Zane

Director of Design and Marketing for Sig Zane and founder of SigZaneKaia. A graphic designer by training, Kūha‘o leads projects that range from designs for his family’s iconic Hawaiian shirts, to collaborations with Hawaiian Airlines, Hurley, Island Fin Design, Hawaiian Electric and Firewire Surfboards.

Rebecca Buck

UX Strategist at Amazon Web Services, where she leads teams in improving enterprise software through human centered design.  Her experience in research for new product development spans diverse industries including public health, pharma, education, insurance, consumer packaged goods and technology.

Clément Blanchet

Founder of Clément Blanchet Architecture in Paris. Clément is a French architect, teacher and critic, actively practicing in the fields of architectural theory, urbanism, and cultural investigations. Clément collaborated with Rem Koolhaas for over a decade, acting as the Director of OMA France.


Daniel Vasini

Creative Director for West 8 New York. He has led world class projects from the conceptualization phase with a multidisciplinary approach; shifting scales from strategic masterplans to transformative park designs followed by iconic public spaces, which accommodate 21st Century infrastructure needs and the challenges of urbanization.

Alisa Weinstein

Senior User Experience Researcher at Uber, where she leads research to help develop new products and services that build upon the Uber network for moving people and things. Her background in journalism and service design informs her methods for identifying insights that help teams design an “Uber” experience for new contexts.

Andrew Tang.jpg

Andrew Tang

Transit-Oriented Development Senior Planner at the City & County of Honolulu.  Andrew has worked in the Netherlands with internationally recognized firms for nearly two decades, as Architect, Urban Designer and Public Space Designer.  In 2013 he returned home to Hawaii, and is working diligently to improve neighborhoods along the future rail corridor.


T. Annie Nguyen

Experience Designer & Researcher in civic tech in Washington, DC.  Annie works side by side with engineers, product managers, data analysts, designers and researchers on complex issues that affect the lives of local and national communities. Previously, she has worked at Facebook, Hot Studio, and Adaptive Path.

Aljoša Dekleva

Co-founder of Dekleva Gregoric Architects based in Ljubljana, Slovenia. His studio is a multiple nominee for the Mies van der Rohe Award and was invited to curate the Pavilion of Slovenia at the 2016 Venice Biennale. Aljoša currently leads a collaboration between the AA Architecture Association, School of Architecture from London and Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture Paris-Val de Seine.



Partnerships & Acknowledgements

BUILDING VOICES is presented by the School of Architecture at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, and the University of Hawai‘i Community Design Center in partnership with AIA Honolulu, ASLA Hawai‘i, APA Hawai‘i, AIAS Hawai‘i, US Green Building Council of Hawai‘i, and the University of Hawai‘i Office of Sustainability.

Competition Chairs: Karla Sierralta and Brian Strawn