Punahou School
Case Middle School
Honolulu, O‘ahu
Info +

Designed as nine sep­a­rate build­ings on four acres of land, the Case Mid­dle School is com­prised of class­rooms for the sixth, sev­enth, and eighth grades. Each grade lev­el teach­ing team with four class­rooms occu­pies a sin­gle floor; this unique link­age of cur­ricu­lum and phys­i­cal space fos­ters an inte­gra­tion of stud­ies and a sense of belong­ing among stu­dents and staff.

The archi­tec­tur­al design of the School as a sequence of small­er, mul­ti­ple build­ings with a vil­lage-like char­ac­ter with­in the steeply-sloped site sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduces the impact of the inser­tion of the Mid­dle School com­plex into the exist­ing cam­pus. This care­ful­ly cal­i­brat­ed frag­men­ta­tion of built form respects the dom­i­nance of Cas­tle Hall, a sym­bol of Puna­hou School’s long his­to­ry, and cre­ates a fresh, youth­ful envi­ron­ment in which nat­ur­al day­light pen­e­trates all spaces and cor­ri­dor win­dows allow views through the entire build­ing. The archi­tec­tur­al posi­tion­ing of the open-air team meet­ing or “break-out” spaces and the ter­races between build­ings cre­ates sud­den, dra­mat­ic views of the city and sea as an indeli­ble con­nec­tion between the school and community.

Among oth­er facil­i­ties the com­plex includes “cre­ative learn­ing cen­ters” which enhance learn­ing in a hands-on envi­ron­ment for the sev­enth and eighth grades. A mul­ti-use assem­bly and per­for­mance space, the Twigg-Smith Gath­er­ing Place, accom­mo­dates 400 peo­ple, func­tion­ing both as an assem­bly hall for the Mid­dle School but also as a venue for the rest of the School and the com­mu­ni­ty at large. Cov­ered park­ing also inte­grates accom­mo­da­tion for 200 cars into the com­plex.     

The build­ings are designed to be envi­ron­men­tal­ly, social­ly, and cul­tur­al­ly sus­tain­able. As a result the Mid­dle School is the first major cer­ti­fied “green” project in Hawai‘i, attain­ing the LEED Gold Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. Among the many com­plex ben­e­fits achieved by this design approach are the preser­va­tion of exist­ing land­scap­ing, the fos­ter­ing of an envi­ron­men­tal con­scious­ness among stu­dents, and the use of:

• recy­cled mate­ri­als for  con­struc­tion such as con­crete, steel, floor­ing, fur­ni­ture, toi­let par­ti­tions, coun­ter­tops, lock­ers and wood from cer­ti­fied sus­tain­able sources;

• ful­ly oper­a­ble win­dows for nat­ur­al ven­ti­la­tion, “low‑E” glass, and pho­to­volta­ic pan­els pro­duc­ing elec­tri­cal power;

• abun­dant nat­ur­al light;

• a dig­i­tal light dim­ming sys­tem inte­grat­ing pho­to and occu­pan­cy sen­sors reduc­ing ener­gy consumption;

• ther­mal ener­gy stor­age ice plant tech­nol­o­gy cre­at­ing ice at night for use in cool­ing the build­ing dur­ing the day; and

• high-effi­cien­cy mechan­i­cal equip­ment includ­ing water­less uri­nals and sen­sor-oper­at­ed elec­tron­ic faucets and water closets.

Awards +
New Project Award, 2005 / Kukulu Hale Awards
National Association of Industrial and Office Properties
Grand Award, 2005
Building Industry Association Hawaii
Mayor’s Award, 2005
City and County of Honolulu
Award of Excellence, 2005
The American Institute of Architects, Honolulu Chapter
HECO Energy Efficiency Award, 2006
Hawaiian Electric Company
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification—Gold, 2006
U.S. Green Building Council