Lanai (architecture)

For the Hawaiian island, see Lanai. For the city, see Lanai City, Hawaii.

A lanai or lānai is a type of roofed, open-sided veranda, patio or porch originating in Hawaii.[1][2] Many homes, apartment buildings, hotels and restaurants in Hawaii are built with one or more lānais.[3]


One example of Hawaiian architecture featuring a lānai is the Albert Spencer Wilcox Beach House on the Island of Kauai.[4] The residence of Queen Liliʻuokalani, Washington Place in Honolulu, was constructed with "open lānais" on all sides.[5]

Architectural feature

The use of the lānai is one of the "Hawaiian modern" features in the style of some of the buildings of Vladimir Ossipoff, who saw in the lanai functional similarities to the Japanese engawa.[6] A lanai may also be a covered exterior passageway.[7] Disney animator Dorse Lanpher (1935–2011) notes in his memoirs the large covered lanais on the ocean side of his Honolulu hospital.[8] Today, air-conditioned buildings such as hotels often offer "enclosed" rather than "open" lanais, sometimes meaning a large dining hall with a 'wall' of sliding glass doors.[9]



  1. "Nā Puke Wehewehe ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi". Retrieved September 2, 2012.
  2. "lanai, n.". Oxford English Dictionary. 2012. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
  3. "Hawaiian Lanai Family Room". hgtv. Retrieved September 1, 2012.
  4. "Albert Spencer Wilcox Beach House" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved September 1, 2012.
  5. "Washington Place" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved September 1, 2012.
  6. Dean Sakamoto, Karla Britton Hawaiian modern: the architecture of Vladimir Ossipoff , 2007 – Page 96 In passing, Ossipoff mentioned the engawa, or veranda platform, a key component of the Japanese house that functions much like the Hawaiian lanai. Historically, the engawa was characteristic of the shuden residential style of the late Middle ..
  7. Drafting and Design for Architecture – Page 151 Dana J. Hepler, Paul Ross Wallach, Donald Hepler – 2012 "LANAIS. Lanai is the Hawaiian word for porch, but it also refers to a covered exterior passageway. Large lanais often double as patios."
  8. Dorse A. Lanpher Flyin' Chunks and Other Things to Duck Page 34 Each floor of the hospital had a large, covered lanai, Hawaiian word for porch, on the ocean side of the building. I spent my afternoons sitting on the third floor lanai looking down on Honolulu and the airport in the distance. I would watch the ...
  9. Jeanette Foster -Frommer's Hawaii 2006 – Page 16 2005 "A full gourmet breakfast is served on the enclosed back lanai or, if you prefer, delivered to your room."
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