University of Hawai‘i
West O‘ahu Campus
Kapolei, O‘ahu
Info +

A cen­tral ele­ment of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Hawai‘i’s Long Range Devel­op­ment Plan is the cre­ation of a mas­ter­plan for the land slat­ed for the University’s West O‘ahu cam­pus in a new growth area of Kapolei. In out­lin­ing the need for that new cam­pus plan­ning, the Devel­op­ment Plan states:

“The Uni­ver­si­ty has insti­tut­ed a frame­work of sus­tain­abil­i­ty guide­lines to ensure that the Uni­ver­si­ty properties…incorporate sus­tain­able design and build­ing con­cepts. The guide­lines pro­vide a way to under­stand the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion and inform the vision for the future by devel­op­ing the cam­pus and the neigh­bor­ing com­mu­ni­ty in ways that are equi­table and make sense both eco­log­i­cal­ly and economically.”

John Hara Asso­ciates Inc. was giv­en the design com­mis­sion by the Uni­ver­si­ty both for orig­i­na­tion of the cam­pus mas­ter plan and the design and doc­u­men­ta­tion of the first phase of build­ings on the campus.These con­sist of the Library, the Stu­dent Services/Campus Cen­ter Build­ing, and the Class­room and Admin­is­tra­tion Buildings.

The site for the West O‘ahu cam­pus is a spe­cial par­cel of land with gen­tly slop­ing rur­al typog­ra­phy and stun­ning views to the moun­tains, the panoram­ic ele­va­tion of the city sky­line, the edge of the sea, and the ven­er­a­ble Kalo‘i Gulch on the site itself. The design team based its approach on the under­stand­ing that sus­tain­abil­i­ty is not one-dimen­sion­al, but rather con­sists of envi­ron­men­tal, eco­nom­ic, social and cul­tur­al com­po­nents. All were to be giv­en con­tin­u­ous equal con­sid­er­a­tion through­out the mas­ter plan process in order to cre­ate a new cam­pus with a rich char­ac­ter and con­tent unachiev­able by any oth­er means.

The Mas­ter Plan accepts the exist­ing Kalo‘i Gulch as form­ing the east­ern perime­ter of the land par­cel. The Plan retains and trans­forms this nat­ur­al storm water runoff chan­nel with its lat­er agri­cul­tur­al asso­ci­a­tions as a green­way to pro­vide a green space buffer between the cam­pus and adja­cent new medi­um-to-high-den­si­ty hous­ing. The green­way is also expect­ed to be devel­oped with native tree and plant species to improve habi­tat for at-risk native bird species and to serve as a bird/fauna cor­ri­dor through the site.

The cam­pus plan is based on the site’s typog­ra­phy and con­tours to cre­ate a series of nat­ur­al plat­forms around which key group­ings of build­ings in stages can be sit­ed. Each of these plat­forms or mon­u­men­tal ter­races is linked through axi­al inte­ri­or road­ways with pedestrian/bicycle paths, gen­tly slop­ing to the next nat­ur­al ter­race on the cam­pus. The inter­sec­tion of these roads cre­ates a vary­ing geom­e­try of paved plazas, wide open cam­pus greens, and inti­mate angu­lar trop­i­cal gar­dens for out­door study and class discussion.

The build­ings com­pris­ing Phase 1 of the con­struc­tion of the new cam­pus are ori­ent­ed with­in the plan for best solar con­di­tions, to respond to view cor­ri­dors, to be seen from pedes­tri­an paths as three dimen­sion­al vol­umes placed on the diag­o­nal and to frame sig­nif­i­cant major and minor places with­in the cam­pus, such as the Great Lawn, the Cen­tral Court­yard, and the Entry Plaza, with­out cre­at­ing an orthog­o­nal bound­ary to these spaces.

The mas­ter plan address­es social and cul­tur­al sus­tain­abil­i­ty in a num­ber of ways, includ­ing this new cam­pus serv­ing as a “breath of fresh air” into the lives of com­muters, of youth find­ing their way, of retirees deter­mined to have an active life of both mind and body, and of the very young whose sense of future can be shaped by close prox­im­i­ty to what goes on at a university. 

The mas­ter plan also spec­i­fies an inte­grat­ed, site-spe­cif­ic pub­lic art pro­gram which affirms the University’s belief in the essen­tial role of artists in soci­ety.  John Hara Asso­ciates pre­pared a long term Mas­ter Plan for Works of Art for the West O‘ahu cam­pus which con­tains detailed place-mak­ing plans for nine sig­nif­i­cant exte­ri­or and inte­ri­or com­mis­sions. The first com­mis­sion, “Cycles”, the Library Tower’s work in fused glass and light emit­ting diodes by Kaua‘i artist Car­ol Ben­nett, was coor­di­nat­ed by Hara as part of the building’s construction.

Awards +
Project of the Year, 2012
Masonry Institute of Hawaii
Award of Merit—New Commercial, 2013
Building Industry Association of Hawaii
Commercial Project Award, 2013 / Kukulu Hale Awards
National Association of Industrial and Office Properties
Award of Excellence, 2013
The American Institute of Architects, Honolulu Chapter