“Respect for place” is an oft-heard term—both in educational circles and architectural ones—but architect and HPA alumnus Greg Warner ’77 keeps a keen appreciation for place, or context, at the heart of his designs. “Context has a lot to inform what architecture could or should be,” he says.
Warner is a principal designer at the award-winning Walker Warner Architects, a firm he co-founded in San Francisco in 1989. From Sonoma ranches to coastal Hawaiian homes, the firm’s work has garnered awards and accolades for its innovation, sensitivity, and clean design. After graduating from HPA, Warner went on to the University of Oregon, where he studied architecture and design. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects and a LEED Accredited Professional.
Now living in San Francisco, Warner is quick to credit Hawai‘i with anchoring his design sense and philosophy. “Early on, we had a client on the Big Island. After being gone for 15 or 20 years, when I came back, I just realized how much Hawai‘i affects everything I do.” Coming back to Hawai‘i also revealed a hidden muse to Warner: Vladimir Ossipoff, HPA’s original master planner.
Vladimir Ossipoff was a mid-century master: one of Hawai‘i’s most renowned architects, who had a particular genius for context. Ossipoff often used native materials; he sited his buildings to maximize airflow and sweeping vistas; and he reclaimed the lanai as an integral piece of the indoor/outdoor living that is the joyful right of tropical residents.
“I didn’t know about Ossipoff until I was working and came back to Hawai‘i. And I realized that being in and around Ossipoff’s buildings at HPA shaped me. It was a watershed moment, giving me clarity and confidence in my own work.” Today, Warner incorporates many of Ossipoff’s signature elements in his own architectural work: ʻōhiʻascreens, expansive lanais, and perhaps above all: a careful attention to context.