Alumni to Watch: Architect Kreig Kihara

Kreig KiharaKing Kekaulike can add another doctor to its list of notable alumnus. Kreig Kihara, a 2006 graduate, received his Doctorate in Architecture from the University of Hawaii at Manoa this past spring. The journey however, was not an easy one.

An architectural degree takes seven long years along with an internship and final thesis. Kihara, always looking for an adventure, decided to complete his required internship with an architectural firm in Shanghai, China. “For five months, I learned a ton about architecture, but it can’t compare to what I gained outside the office,” Kihara shared. He traveled to multiple cities, and worked through the complexity of the Chinese language. Jokingly he states, “when I first moved to China, I had the language equivalency of ordering at Panda Express.” He quickly learned the nuances of the language and continued to joke, “I do pride myself in acquiring enough Chinese language skills that I can now fluently order at Dragon Dragon…that’s a big upgrade.”

Studying abroad proved to be one of the most humbling and eye-opening experiences for Kihara, “I felt very fortunate to have the opportunity of living in an environment so different from Hawaii.” He experienced many aspects of China’s unique culture and his time spent aboard will no doubt help him to become a global minded architect.

With his official schooling behind him, Kihara is now eager for a change of pace. “I am enjoying not having to worry about homework or exams for pretty much the first time in my life.”

But, the constant studying and long-hours will not end anytime soon. Kihara was recently hired at a Honolulu-based architecture firm as an architectural designer, working on many exciting, up and coming projects. His job will help him to prepare for a seven-part examination that now stands between him and the official title of architect.

The process may sound daunting, but going the extra mile is something Kihara has come to expect. Whether working behind the counter at his family run store in Keokea, in the classroom, on the soccer field or even now at his current job, Kihara credits KKHS with instilling within him important values that has led him to success.

“There will always be homework, tests, strict teachers, and if you’re lucky like us, chicken for lunch. Yet what set KKHS apart, in addition to a solid educational foundation, was the emphasis placed on the value of hard work.” Kihara learned at KKHS that there aren’t many things that can replace the outcome of diligence, focus, and perseverance.

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