Patterns in Design and Buildings/Construction

Oct 15, 2012 by Adam Sutton

When we set out to design Ka Makana at Hoakalei, our first community to be built within Hoakalei Resort, we invited some of the best designers in the country to create architectural styles and detailing that were well proportioned and coordinated to create masterfully built and composed streetscapes and product mixes.

To ensure quality execution in home planning and construction the RFP required the designer to produce designs and details using a technique we call Architectural “Pattern Sheets.” It’s actually an old concept—using patterns in housing—but a revival in the methodology has helped to improve communities’ design and execution.

Pattern books for homes and buildings by Asher Benjamin in the early 1800s consisted of “Plates” that could be reproduced and carried by craftsmen. Many of the early homes in Hawaii may have been built by craftsmen with Plates and Patterns collected along the way, allowing exact replication and consistency in their craft, and may explain why a 1700’s home in Rhode Island is so similar to the Mission Houses in Honolulu. More recently, the book “A Pattern Language” by Christopher Alexander teaches how universal design principles are applicable at many levels in Nature and Buildings.

For the craftsmen at Ka Makana, these pattern sheets are used to illustrate a hierarchy of styles and design proportions for each series of home within the community, and to provide exacting details with which to construct them. These detailed drawings illustrate patterns in greater detail than may be found in typical construction plans, and were prepared for rooflines, fenestration, columns, posts, railings, balustrades, wall and siding patterns, shutters, eaves and rafters, and other relational design elements. They provide additional exacting detail and critical dimensions to ensure classical proportion and consistency, and remain a key element of the ongoing quality control process.

Taking these pattern sheets a step further, Haseko worked with one of its Trade Partners to increase its millwork capacity by providing level land and helping to design an on-site fabrication yard to accommodate a Mill and Workshop to produce these detailed design elements. Haseko also provided three phase 220 power for band saws, and wood working machinery, and continues to pay for power and water as part of a program to provide the infrastructure necessary to provide a quality controlled environment.

It’s patterned, by design.