Hart Wood

Hart Wood: Architectural Regionalism in Hawaii

Don Hibbard
Glenn Mason
Karen Weitze
Copyright Date: 2010
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt6wr22t
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  • Book Info
    Hart Wood
    Book Description:

    This lavishly illustrated book traces the life and work of Hart Wood (1880-1957), from his beginnings in architectural offices in Denver and San Francisco to his arrival in Hawaii in 1919 as a partner of C. W. Dickey and eventual solo career in the Islands. An outspoken leader in the development of a Hawaiian style of architecture, Wood incorporated local building traditions and materials in many of his projects and was the first in Hawaii to blend Eastern and Western architectural forms in a conscious manner. Enchanted by Hawaii's vivid beauty and its benevolent climate, exotic flora, and cosmopolitan culture, Wood sought to capture the aura of the Islands in his architectural designs.

    Hart Wood's magnificent and graceful buildings remain critical to Hawaii's architectural legacy more than fifty years after his death: the First Church of Christ Scientist on Punahou Street, the First Chinese Church on King Street, the S & G Gump Building on Kalakaua Avenue, the Honolulu Board of Water Supply Administration Building on Beretania Street, and the Alexander & Baldwin Building on Bishop Street, as well as numerous Wood residences throughout the city.

    200 illus.

    eISBN: 978-0-8248-6052-3
    Subjects: Architecture and Architectural History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. xiii-xvi)

    Although today he is overshadowed by former partner Charles W. Dickey, Hart Wood is one of the giants of Hawaii’s regionalist design movement and arguably its most creative advocate. The first architect in Hawaii known to meld Asian and Western forms, some of his best buildings, such as the A and B Building and the Board of Water Supply Administration Building, remain icons of Hawaii’s architectural legacy more than fifty years after Wood’s death in 1957.

    This book traces the development of this remarkable talent from his early upbringing in Kansas and Colorado through his early work in California and...

  5. 1 INFLUENCES OF YOUTH
    (pp. 1-9)

    Born in Philadelphia on December 26, 1880, Hart Wood was the son of Thomas Hart Benton Wood, the nephew of Louis M. H. Wood, and the grandson of Samuel Wood. The Woods were all active artisans in the building trades of the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries.¹ By 1850, Samuel Wood (b. 1817, Virginia), a Scotch-Irishman descended from Quakers, had established himself as a carpenter in the southwestern corner of Pennsylvania. There, in the Bridgeport Borough of Fayette near Brownsville, he was to own and operate a substantial sawing and planing mill.² Louis M. H. Wood, his third son, attended Waynesburg...

  6. 2 WOOD’S EARLY CAREER
    (pp. 10-37)

    By 1897 or 1898, Hart Wood had formally entered the architectural profession, inaugurating his career through Marean & Norton and Frank E. Edbrooke & Company. The Edbrooke firm was responsible for much of Denver’s late-nineteenth-century appearance, with the Brown Palace Hotel of 1892 considered a masterpiece of art and engineering (fig. 7). Edbrooke & Company also had trained many of the region’s architects, including Willis Adams Marean and Albert Julius Norton.¹ Frank E. Edbrooke (1840–1921) was one of three prominent architect sons of English builder Robert J. Edbrooke. The Edbrooke family had played an active role in the rebuilding of Chicago after...

  7. 3 WOOD AND SIMPSON: WOOD OPENS HIS OWN FIRM
    (pp. 38-57)

    In July 1915,Architect and Engineer of Californiaannounced that Hart Wood and Horace G. Simpson had formed a partnership: Wood and Simpson.¹ Wood’s reasons for leaving Hobart are shadowy. The business climate was steadily deteriorating, and the Portland Post Office commission was mired in federal bureaucracy. Hobart’s bright outlook of autumn 1914 may have disappeared, along with the ability to keep all of his staff. Horace G. Simpson was a good partner for Wood. In the same month that Hart had announced his leave-taking of Bliss and Faville, Llewellyn B. Dutton, another established San Francisco architect, had announced his...

  8. 4 HAWAII: THE STAGE IS SET
    (pp. 58-64)

    The pairing of Hart Wood (fig. 31) with Charles William Dickey (fig. 32) was to prove fortuitous for Wood. Dickey was able to provide Wood with the clients he had been unable to attract during the hard times of World War I. In turn, Dickey found in Wood a man of compatible architectural philosophies.

    Dickey came from a family that had extensive connections in Hawaii’s business community. This tightly knit community was almost exclusively comprised of Caucasian families whose roots went deep into nineteenth-century Hawaii. This elite controlled the “Big Five” companies: C. Brewer, Theo E. Davies Ltd., Castle & Cooke,...

  9. 5 EARLY WORK IN HAWAII
    (pp. 65-97)

    The basic designs of at least three major projects were completed before Wood made Honolulu a permanent base. The Greek Theater project, as its name implies, is pure Classical Revival architecture. However, the early schemes for the Bishop & Company Bank (fig. 39) and the Castle & Cooke Building (fig. 40) appear to conform with the Hawaiian Renaissance Revival forms Louis Mullgardt had proposed for Bishop Street, an early indication that Dickey and Wood already were thinking of Hawaii’s architecture in a regional context. Of the three, only the Castle & Cooke Building was realized, and for reasons unknown, it displayed a solid...

  10. 6 WOOD LEADS THE HAWAIIAN REGIONAL ARCHITECTURE MOVEMENT
    (pp. 98-187)

    During the years 1924–1926, Wood continued to combine a variety of design elements in an effort to formulate the guiding principles for a regional architecture appropriate to Hawaii. The directions he had explored in the Albert Wilcox Memorial Library, Wilcox Memorial Parish Hall, First Church of Christ Scientist, and the residences of Francis Ii Brown and Rudolph Bukeley were perpetuated and further developed in five residential commissions of this period. The houses built for attorney and later territorial governor Ingram M. Stainback and for Doctors Van Poole, Morgan, Reppun, and Faus represent the work of a mature designer combining...

  11. 7 THE DEPRESSION YEARS AND WORLD WAR II
    (pp. 188-228)

    The crash of the stock market in October 1929 did not have an immediate effect upon Hawaii, but by 1931 the depression was being felt in the Islands. By mid-1932, Wood informed his friend Jesse Stanton of Gladding, McBean, “I have managed to keep my office open so far, but I don’t know how nor why,” and to J. S. Fairweather of Bliss and Fairweather, the successor firm of Bliss and Faville, he confided, “I haven’t done enough to pay for expenses for over a year. I thought for a while it was going to miss us, but it was...

  12. 8 REOPENING HIS OFFICE
    (pp. 229-242)

    Following the war, Wood was almost immediately busy upon reopening his office. Original drawings, dated June 19, 1944, exist for a small residence for J. Walsh on Terrace Drive in Manoa. In addition, during the first month of 1946, plans for two residential renovations were ready for bidding, and the Bertram Quinn residence was under construction on a small, low-lying flag lot in Nuuanu Dowsett. Considered a “problem” lot, Wood “made an asset of every deficit,” and the property “became the setting for a home that well illustrates Hawaii’s way of life.”¹ The two-story board and batten dwelling placed the...

  13. 9 THE CREPUSCULAR YEARS, THE END OF A CAREER
    (pp. 243-246)

    Following the completion of the Lihue United Church, age began to catch up to Hart Wood. By June 1952, when he was admitted to Maunalani Hospital, he “couldn’t hold a pencil,” nor could he take care of himself. Probably suffering from Parkinson’s disease, this talented architect would live out his days at Maunalani Hospital.¹ His house was sold, and it was about this time that Wood’s firm moved to the Hawaiian Life Building.

    Although Wood stayed at Maunalani Hospital, it is likely that he continued some form of control over the design of projects in the office for a time....

  14. NOTES
    (pp. 247-270)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 271-276)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 277-278)