Kapa'au Area, Big Island, HI

Shelter from the storm

Think of it as the highly attuned response of architecture to its setting: The blustering winds that hit the northern tip of the Big Island of Hawaii helped inspire this home's form.

Built in a U shape with three connected shed-roofed wings, the 3,000-square-foot structure wraps around a sunlit, south-facing courtyard and uses its pitched roofs to shelter the house from wind and sun.

With tall window walls that provide panoramic views, the airy, almost transparent home seems to sit lightly upon an elevated lava foundation that evokes the form of a stone heiau, a platform once used for Hawaiian religious ceremonies. The interior highlights the warm tones of exposed Douglas fir wall framing.

DESIGN  Cutler Anderson Architects, Bainbridge Island, WA (206/842-4710)