Kanu o ka `Aina Learning `Ohana Public Charter School

AIA  Hawai’i – Award of Merit 2013

Boston Society of Architects Design Award 2013

Ki Concepts was the landscape architect on an interdisciplinary team led by Flansburgh Architects to create a sustainable master plan for the Kanu o ka ‘Aina New Century Public Charter School. The school is part of the Kanu o ka ‘Aina Learning ‘Ohana (KALO), a community-based non-profit organization committed to the advancement of Hawaiian culture for a sustainable Hawai‘i. Programs at KALO are geared toward ‘cradle to tomb’ education for a family of learners from K-12 and the larger community. KALO and its partners work to establish a dynamic, holistic educational environment where project based learning centers on empowering community members to thrive in the modern world while drawing from Hawaiian values such as Aloha kekahi I kekahi (Love one another), Mālama i kou kuleana (Take care of your responsibilities) and Mālama ‘aina (taking care of livings systems that sustain us).

Located in the Pu‘ukapu foothills at the edge of Waimea at the base of Mauna Kea and the Kohala Mountains , KALO’s new, thirty-acre campus pays homage and derives inspiration from its magnificent setting. The campus is laid out as village or kulanakauhale around a piko, or central open space that allows views to the surrounding landscape. Here the KALO community gathers for makahiki, daily protocols and other community events. The modular design of the buildings allow for incremental construction as the campus grows.

The landscape concept is organized along a continuum of built structures, the village of classrooms and learning facilities; gardens and orchards at the village edges; the agricultural landscape of pastured paddocks and larger campus gardens and finally to ponds and a restored native forest, all linked by walking trails. This symbolic transect alludes to the region’s landscape evolution and to the Native Hawaiians’ intimate relationship with nature, the land or ‘aina as well as Waimea’s paniolo, or Cowboys, and agricultural heritage. Sustainable design and practices including natural drainage, rainwater catchment, native plant usage and propagation, native forest restoration, food gardens, and photo-voltaics are highlighted in the campus design as environmental, educational and cultural learning opportunities. The design team worked closely with the students and faculty during the design process to identify their needs but also to engage students in learning about design.