Hawaii March 05, 2016
There’s No House In The World Like This One In Hawaii
Often considered to be one of Hawaii’s most architecturally significant homes, Shangri La is an utterly enchanting Islamic-style mansion built in the late 1930s by heiress Doris Duke near Diamond Head just outside Honolulu, and overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Construction of the impressive home began in 1937, after Doris Duke’s 1935 honeymoon, which took her on a journey through the Islamic world and an extended stay in Hawaii.
Doris Duke was the daughter of a wealthy tobacco tycoon, and lived a life of global travel, art collecting, philanthropy, competitive surfing and even journalism and wildlife conservation.
Doris Duke found herself charmed by Hawaii and enchanted by Islamic art and architecture, and as a result, she designed her Hawaii home in collaboration with architect Marion Sims Wyeth to celebrate both of these passions.
For the next 60 years, Duke collected and commissioned artifacts for the home – and eventually formed an impressive collection of approximately 2,500 objects.
The mansion is filled with art, furnishings and architectural elements from Iran, Morocco, Turkey, Spain, India, Syria, and Egypt.
The five-acre complex is home to a 14,000-square foot home, pool, a playhouse that is a reduced-scale version of the Chehel Sotoun, a 17th century Iranian pavilion, comprising various interlocking spaces inside and out.
Outdoor landscaping blends the formality of an Indian Mughal garden and terraced water features with the intimacy and privacy of a Hawaiian fishpond and tropical garden.
The home was opened to the public in 2002 as the Shangri La Center for Islamic Arts and Cultures.
The only way to visit the magnificent estate is through a tour with the Honolulu Museum of Art. The tours last about two and a half hours, including transportation to and from the Museum’s downtown campus.
Tours feature the public rooms of the main house and portions of the grounds, including the entry and central courtyards, foyer, Damascus room, Syrian room, Mughail Garden, Mihrab Room, and the upper lawn with views of the playhouse, pool and water terraces.
Have you ever visited Doris Duke’s Shangri La? Do these photographs even do it justice?