The American Institute of Architecture Students chapter at Woodbury University recently came back from their West Quad Conference in Honolulu, Hawai’i. Exploring the theme Kuleana, the students gained an understanding of the responsibility that people have to care for the natural and built environments. Students Micol Romano, Anna Russ, Nick Haddad, Daniel Quintanilla-Rico and Genevieve Enriquez discovered Hawaiian architecture and were exposed to the practices that are specific to Hawai’i due its unique geographic location and climate.
The 2019 West Quad Conference highlights included featured speakers like Aaron Ackerman, LEED AP ID+C and Ma Ry Kim, as well as breakout sessions and hiking trails. Student Nicholas J. Haddad touched on Aaron’s work, saying that, “He stood out to me in how he defined Kuleana as an expressive understanding of his own; his family. This was heartfelt and truly captivating because of his connections through the built and natural environments to his own loved ones. Aaron made sustainability goals, functionality and efficiency within the built environment an ingredient of his Kuleana.”
As the AIAS Quad team stated, “We have a kuleana to our land: to care for it and to respect it, and in return. Our land has the kuleana to feed, shelter, and clothe us. It is through this relationship we maintain balance within society and with our natural environment; neither can exist without the other. All should coexist in balance and harmony. It is the relationship between people, nature, and architecture that we as architects have a kuleana for. Kuleana is an inherent quality and a basic foundation of design.”
Genevieve Enriquez explained what it was like to see traditional architecture on the island. “The two tours we went to were the Ka Papa Lo’I O Kanewai (Traditional Hawaiian Home) and Haleola’ili’ainapono (Living Building Challenge). The traditional home is a symbol of the Hawaiian culture and reflects the kuleana of the native Hawaiians. These kind of homes are rare to see in the island and it’s not allowed to reproduce them since they do not meet building codes and the materials are flammable. I am honored to have seen this home. It was beautiful and carefully crafted. We also saw Makapu’u Lighthouse and Diamond Head, each with their own incredible views!”
Anna Russ, Woodbury AIAS Treasurer, attended the Council of Presidents Meeting that was held on the last day of AIAS West Quad Conference hosted by AIAS Hawaii and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. The meeting encouraged representatives from each chapter to discuss issues related to their individual chapters and the Association as a whole; this included past challenges and successes as well as current or future difficulties. The COP offered the opportunity to see where AIAS is providing impact and how it will continue to evolve into the future.