Civic / Cultural, Educational


  • YEAR : 2004

This is a competition entry for a sustainable architectural demonstration project to facilitate the joint educational and conservation efforts of Kapolei High School and the Nature Conservancy located in O’ahu, Hawaii. 40,000s.f. of program area include an indoor/outdoor theater, exhibition hall, artist/scholar/scientist studios, classrooms, conference rooms, offices, library and ethno botanical garden. Conceived of as an open-air structure and designed as an integral part of the landscape, the building is oriented to take advantage of the trade winds and intense sunlight that predominate much of the year. The north side of the building is comprised of automated louvers that modulate air flow and glare. The south side of the building is clad in an array of photovoltaic panels to provide solar power. A cavity wall beneath the PV panels allows passive ventilation through the Venturi effect. Gel glass on the south wall of the entry lobby helps to regulate heat gain and animate the building skin over the course of the day and under varying climactic conditions. Solar water heaters and stormwater and greywater reclamation further reduce energy and water consumption and impacts on the local infrastructure. The form of the building relates to the traditional Halau, a place of hula instruction, workshop for canoe building, and cultural nexus, as well as the geological dynamics that shaped the terrain. The mass of the building is kept low in deference to the natural features of the island and to facilitate convective cooling. The large pond acts as the last stage of a Living Machine that treats building water, a retention pond for stormwater run-off, a physical and psychological cooling element, and symbolic link to the oceans, lakes and aquifers that sustain life on the island. Ultimately the building acts as a platform from which occupants can view the operations of the learning center in its broader context; a bridge between the high school and the surrounding community and a vital link to the larger ecology.