Full-sized albizia house at UH a model of innovation and sustainability


University of Hawaiʻi
Kelli Abe Trifonovitch, (808) 228-8108
Director of Communications and Outreach, University of Hawai‘i System
Posted: Apr 23, 2018

Innovative house at UH Manoa being built out of invasive albizia wood.
Innovative house at UH Manoa being built out of invasive albizia wood.
The albizia house started as a doctor of architecture project for Joey Valenti (center).
The albizia house started as a doctor of architecture project for Joey Valenti (center).

Link to video and sound (details below):  https://bit.ly/2HhP7El

What:  Innovative, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa student-designed house built out of invasive albizia wood

Who:  In 2016, a $10,000 UH President’s Green Project Implementation award kick-started funding for what was student Joey Valenti’s doctor of architecture project, a low-cost housing solution made with locally available materials. Valenti is now a project manager with the UH Office of Sustainability overseeing installation of a full-scale housing prototype made with albizia wood.

Where:  Near the UH Mānoa School of Architecture on the corner of University Avenue and Metcalf Street

Why:  The prototype was constructed as a proof-of-concept of a temporary housing made from albizia, investigating the potential for use of this invasive species as a useful building material.  

How:  It utilizes a design-build process that integrates state-of-the-art wood engineering technology and digital fabrication to pilot a Hawai‘i-based system of wood structures that could create economic drivers for invasive species removal and replacement with high-value native hardwoods. The designers hope to replace each invasive albizia tree that is removed with a native species

When:  Construction on the full-sized albizia house is ongoing.  A blessing is scheduled for Friday, May 4 at 5:30pm

Other facts:

  • The UH Office of Sustainability has raised more than $70,000 for the Albizia Project, including $10,000 from Johnson Controls for the original green implementation award and $31,300 from the Hawai‘i Housing Finance Development Corporation.
  • Valenti and UH Sustainability Coordinator Matthew K. Lynch hope to expand the project beyond albizia to other locally available species.




B-ROLL: (TRT: 1 minute, 45 seconds)

0:00-0:45, 5 shots: full-scale albizia house

0:45-1:25, 7 shots: construction process of the albizia house

1:25-1:31: loading of albizia log in 2016

1:31-1:38: Joey Valenti and his scale model in 2016

1:38-1:45: scale model in 2016




Joey Valenti, UH Albizia Project Manager (4 seconds)

“I think itʻs going to be a gamechanger for Hawai‘i in a lot of ways.”


Valenti (8 seconds)

“Iʻm hoping it makes a big impact on students where they can become really inspired on what their potential is with their ideas they bring to the school.”


Matthew K. Lynch, UH System Sustainability Coordinator (14 seconds)

“One of the elements that is particularly exciting about this project is the way that it demonstrates how innovation and entrepreneurship are actually key elements to being able to solve the complex challenges of climate change, sustainability and resilience.”