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The Kenneth Brown Award Gathers a Jury in Hawaii

Notes from Robert Ivy, FAIA, Editor-in-Chief

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Raymond Yeh, Dean at University of Hawaii; Architectural Record editor in chief Robert Ivy; Itsuko Hasagawa; Kazi Ashraf, Professor at University of Hawaii; and Kerry Hill, architect from Singapore and Perth, Australia.

Group joined by Honolulu architect Pip White, who helps with the Kenneth Brown program.

You might not choose to fly to Hawaii and find yourself locked up a semi-darkened room for two days, but last weekend that's where we found ourselves. It was worth the trouble. The Kenneth Brown Award, the subject of our weekend-long jury as established by the University of Hawaii, honors architects and their work located in Asia/Pacific—a broad region. We judged 90 projects from throughout Asia—from India and Bangladesh to Hawaii—and the quality of the work was outstanding from virtually every country we saw. While I find that we have seen much work in a typical jury in the states, that was not the case this time.

Our languages or accents differed somewhat, but the language of architecture bridged between us. Other judges were Kerry Hill from Singapore and Australia (who has designed the majority of the Aman hotel projects) and Itsuko Hasagawa, a respected female architect from Japan.

In the course of events, each juror gave a public lecture. We met the local architectural leadership at events, (AIA president, etc.) including a reception and a dinner. We held a seminar with students, to talk and to see their work. The award bears the name of Kenneth Brown, a living descendant of the original Hawaiians who has been a leader in the state’s development and had been trained as an architect at Princeton.

The jury merely kicked things off. After our deliberations (and choices, after two days), the university will host a pan-Asia conference simulcast between the U of Hawaii and Tongji University in Shanghai to discuss the winners this June. Five hundred have attended from Hawaii alone. The entire process was well organized by Kazi Ashraf; American architects should become more aware of the program on the mainland, as our interest level in work across the Pacific continues to grow. Ken Frampton was the lead juror three years ago for the last cycle and the Japanese architect Shuhei Endo won.