Davies Chapel

Symbol of our past, inspiration for the future

Davies Chapel is a building of great architectural and cultural significance both for our school and for Hawai‘i. Its preservation presents a key opportunity for our ‘ohana to come together in recognition of HPA’s legacy and history, while also honoring the environmental, artistic, and spiritual possibilities that lie ahead for our community.

An architectural gem

Completed in 1967, our chapel is among the finest examples of Vladimir Ossipoff’s architecture and the unique brand of Hawaiian Modern architecture he helped to define. In every way a pioneer in green building and design decades before a formal movement took hold, Ossipoff was dedicated to building beautiful, lasting structures within the limitations of the setting, and honoring the natural forces at play in a space.

Architect Dean Sakamoto, guest curator for the Honolulu Museum of Art’s 2008 landmark exhibition dedicated to the work of Vladimir Ossipoff, writes: “More so than any of his other institutional works, Davies Chapel is made with a majority of native materials. One of its most distinctive features is the exposed-frame bell tower, made of massive trunks of ʻōhiʻa trees. …[T]he rough, elemental bell tower signals the difference between the chapel and the other school buildings below it.” Sakamoto also praises the chapel for its display of Ossipoff’s ingenuity:

“The interior of the chapel is a tour de force. …Ossipoff’s sidelighting of the altar—the focal point of this basilica-type plan—is masterful. Via a full height window on the south elevation not visible from the pews, daylight rakes across the boulder concrete walls. …The Davies Chapel is powerful, brooding, and earthbound. It is Osipoff’s most original, rustic, and elemental structure.”

Urgent need for preservation

Like many HPA buildings, the chapel requires significant refurbishment and renewal. In 2016, we were forced to remove the bell tower when it nearly collapsed. Our goal is to undertake a $1 million capital campaign to restore and reinforce the tower and the bell (which is dedicated to founding board member Marjorie Robertson), as well as to install a new roof, refinish the pews, and address outdated systems and other urgent maintenance requirements.

By working within limitations—by improving one’s skill within the imposed limits through repetition and constant striving for betterment, enduring structures do result.”

—Vladimir Ossipoff, chapel consecration, 1967

This project affords the opportunity to galvanize those of us who remember, treasure, and admire Ossipoff’s architectural masterpiece. Together, we will make certain that new and future Ka Makani are inspired by its ingenuity and welcomed into its space for reflection and restoration. Moreover, we can ensure that HPA continues as a responsible steward of Ossipoff’s achievement and his green design legacy. Davies Chapel has served our ‘ohana for generations; now we give back to make it secure for our students and the larger world.

To learn more about the effort, please contact Hannah Hind Candelario ‘01, director of advancement, at 808-881-4075 or hcandelario@hpa.edu.