by David Cohen
photos courtesy of Craig Steely


      A piece of Heaven right here on earth, that is what architect Craig Steely has designed for Chicago married couple Joel Hall and Craig Davis. Steely, a well recognized and respected architect, is especially known for creating modern homes on lava rock. To date, Steely has designed four “Lavaflow” homes in Hawaii, with Hall and Davis being the proud owners of Lavaflow 3.
    Hall and Davis’ lot is located on the Big Island’s Puna coastline on a 1955 lava field, only10 miles from the active volcano Mount Kilauea. Because of all of this beauty being so close, the couple knew they wanted their home to fit into the surrounding area, have clean lines, and be open and airy with all windows providing a view of the Pacific Ocean. 
    That’s where architect Craig Steely comes in. One of Steely’s main objectives in designing homes is to work with clients interested in exploring unique sites and maintaining a connection to nature and the outside world.
    Although Hall and Davis needed to stay within their budget, it was essential that they didn’t limit Steely’s creativity and inspiration. That, combined with their enthusiasm and level of commitment, made all the difference in building their dream house. 
    For Hall and Davis’ house, Steely experimented with using locally sourced, off-the-shelf materials. “We used the same material used on the typical house, but in more appropriate and interesting ways,” Steely said. “I was inspired to look closely at old, single-wall houses from the ’50s and ’60s for construction strategies, as much as their compact size.”
    Although the 1,300 square foot home employs crisp lines and formal elegance in the classic modernist tradition, it was designed to minimize impact on the sensitive post volcanic landscape.
    To promote conservation efforts, the house was designed to collect rain water for everyday use, and storing in a concrete cistern under the living room. There is no need for air conditioning because the screens, curtains, and louvers
regulate the air flow and provide privacy. 
    The house design includes two wings that exist as separate areas that still remain connected under one roof. The two wings include the main wing and a private wing for Hall and Davis. The private wing includes a master bedroom, master bath, and a living room, thus allowing Hall and Davis to have guests while still maintaining their privacy.
    The main wing includes the great living room, kitchen, laundry room, and bathroom. The most spectacular part of the house is the great living room, located at the front of the house, lined with windows that provide breathtaking views.  It is the center of the entire design, making this room the showcase of the entire house. “When the volcano is active, we can see the glow from Kilauea and smoke from the lava going into the ocean,” Davis says.
    With appreciation for the natural environment and surrounding area, the couple and architect Craig Steely made sure this house fit seamlessly into the landscape. Without a doubt, this Lava House is an amazing work of art and not just an architecture design. It’s a piece of Heaven.
    The Lava House is available for vacation rentals for two people only. For reservations contact Kehena, Hawaii Vacation Rental • http://www.vrbo.com/82763 • tel: 808.965.8625.