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Lanai (architecture)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Albert Spencer Wilcox Beach House

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]

In Hawaii, the term's use has grown colloquially to encompass any sort of outdoor living area connected to or adjacent to an interior space—whether roofed or not—including apartment and hotel balconies. It may be screened in or not.[4]


One example of Hawaiian architecture featuring a lānai is the Albert Spencer Wilcox Beach House on the Island of Kauai.[5] The residence of Queen Liliʻuokalani, Washington Place in Honolulu, was constructed with "open lānais" on all sides.[6]

Architectural feature[edit]

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.[7] A lanai may also be a covered exterior passageway.[8] Disney animator Dorse Lanpher (1935–2011) notes in his memoirs the large covered lanais on the ocean side of his Honolulu hospital.[9] 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.[10]

In popular culture[edit]

On The Golden Girls, the outdoor space of the titular characters' house is referred to as a lanai, particularly by Blanche Deveraux, even though it is more properly a patio.[4]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Nā Puke Wehewehe ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi". Retrieved September 2, 2012.
  2. ^ "lanai, n." Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. 2012. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
  3. ^ "Hawaiian Lanai Family Room". hgtv. Retrieved September 1, 2012.
  4. ^ a b "The Golden Girls introduced a new word to non-Floridian viewers: lanai. Architecturally speaking, a lanai is a porch or veranda with a cement floor and an awning and is sometimes also enclosed by screens." "20 Fun Facts About The Golden Girls". Mental Floss. 14 September 2017.
  5. ^ "Albert Spencer Wilcox Beach House". National Park Service. Retrieved September 1, 2012.
  6. ^ "Washington Place". National Park Service. Retrieved September 1, 2012.
  7. ^ Dean Sakamoto, Karla Britton (2007). Hawaiian modern: the architecture of Vladimir Ossipoff. p. 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 ..."
  8. ^ Dana J. Hepler, Paul Ross Wallach, Donald Hepler (2012). Drafting and Design for Architecture. p. 151. "LANAIS. Lanai is the Hawaiian word for porch, but it also refers to a covered exterior passageway. Large lanais often double as patios."
  9. ^ Dorse A. Lanpher. Flyin' Chunks and Other Things to Duck. p. 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 ..."
  10. ^ Jeanette Foster (2005). Frommer's Hawaii 2006. p. 16. "A full gourmet breakfast is served on the enclosed back lanai or, if you prefer, delivered to your room."