Wood’s Performance in Paradise: A Case Study of Doris Duke’s Shangri La

June 29, 2011

This paper discusses the microclimate evaluation, condition assessments, challenges of limited in situ testing, and recommendations for prioritization and planning conservation work specific to the wood elements at a large 1937 historic estate. Shangri La, the Honolulu residence of the American heiress and philanthropist Doris Duke, was built overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Diamond Head. Designed by architect Marion SimsWyeth, Shangri La includes a main house, playhouse, caretaker’s cottage, and extensive grounds. Both the buildings and landscape incorporate a wide range of materials. Wood was a component of the structures’ roof and lanai framing, windows, and screens. To assist the project team in creating an interactive, dynamic Historic Structures Report, we divided the exterior systems according to staff expertise to evaluate the material components. The team could then cross reference and link data (existing conditions, significance, historic preservation objectives, and treatment recommendations) as the evaluations inevitably overlapped.

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International Conference on Structural Health Assessment of Timber Structures

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