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Vladimir Ossipoff Collection: MANUSCRIPT CAHA00024

Identifier: MANUSCRIPT-CAHA00024
Personal papers of Hawaii architect Vladimir Ossipoff, including some biographical materials, scrapbooks documenting his career, magazines in which his projects are featured, his interest in food and wine, and a small amount of photographs.


  • Majority of material found within 1923 - 1998

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is part of the Archive of Hawaii Artists & Architects. Access is by appointment only. Please contact the Art Archivist Librarian at the Jean Charlot Collection by email: or phone: 808-956-2849.


5 Linear Feet : Record storage boxes

Biographical / Historical

Valdimir Ossipoff was born in Vladivostok, Russia, in 1907. Still a toddler in 1909, he moved to Japan with his family when his father was assigned with the military attaché to the Russian Embassy. He learned English while attending the American School in Tokyo, his parents spoke Russian at home, and he learned Japanese from his nurse. He moved to California with his mother and siblings after the 1923 Japan earthquake. He finished high school in California and studied architecture at University of California at Berkeley, graduating in 1931. He worked for architects in Los Angeles and San Francisco before he moved to Honolulu. He was licensed to practice in Honolulu by 1933, and set up his own office in 1936, continuously practicing architecture for more than 60 years.

If there was any doubt about the influence of his time in Japan on his architectural style, he states in Artists of Hawaii, volume II: "The Japanese simplicity, economy, strength of design, and preference for natural materials...has helped to shape my aesthetic development in an subconscious way...Nature and architecture become inseperable." Use of wood and stone plus the relationship between his buildings and the environment inspired the term Tropical Modernism to describe his unique style.

He was President of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Hawaii Chapter in 1942 and 1965. An active and dedicated member of the community, he served on government commissions, non-profit boards and professional organizations. In the 1955 nomination documentation for Ossipoff to join the AIA College of Fellows several peers noted his integrity, professionalism, and commitment to his clients.

Related Materials

Ossipoff and Snyder Architects Collection Jean Charlot Collection
Vladimir Ossipoff Collection
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Hawaii at Manoa Libraries Repository