Waimea, Hawaii


Program: A 9,100-square-foot pre-K-through-fifth-grade building and a 6,200-square-foot sixth-through-twelfth-grade building for a charter school serving native Hawaiians of all ages. Located on grassland 2,500 feet above sea level on the Big Island, the single-story wood structures bookend a 9,500-square-foot existing building, which houses classrooms, offices, and a dining commons. The expansion adds more classrooms and offices, allowing the Kanu o ka ʻĀina Learning ʻOhana (KALO) to consolidate its previously scattered program on a single site. The project completes the first phase of a master plan, also by Flansburgh. Later phases will add classroom buildings and a combined commons and performance hall.

Design concept and solution: KALO needed a campus that would serve its unique educational program, modeled on the traditions of native Hawaiian families. Teachers, who are thought of as aunts and uncles, guide multiage classes through month-long projects in which students contribute to the group at their own level. The school also wanted a master plan simple enough to complete on a small budget. Flansburgh struck a residential profile with a sequence of modular, cement-board-clad, glued-laminated timber structures with alternating shed roofs that face either the Mauna Kea volcano to the southeast or the Kohala Mountains to the northwest. Each module consists of one pair of alternating roofs. The modules combine into gently curving wedges that, as new buildings are added, will form a serpentine pattern around a “piko,” or central open space—the organizing principle of Hawaiian. As KALO grows, the school can reuse Flansburgh’s design and weave additional modules around the piko, shaping the buildings’ curves to follow the topography. Inside, the architects needed to devise a flexible classroom arrangement, since KALO dispensed with grade levels and, with them, predictable class sizes. The team designed the module interiors to repeat the piko concept, so that a pair of modules forms a large central classroom surrounded by smaller classrooms and the occasional office. With folding glass walls and glass doors dividing the spaces, the interior is more akin to an open, porch-like home than to the linear layout of a typical school corridor. The classrooms on the south and west facades open onto lanais, or verandas, that are supported by ohia wood structural columns resembling tree trunks. Red cedar sunscreens and ohia windscreens complete the school’s natural palette.


Client: Kanu o ka 'Aina Learning 'Ohana

Owner: Kanu o ka 'Aina Learning 'Ohana

Flansburgh Architects
77 North Washington Street
Boston, MA 02114
T: 617-367-3970
F: 617-720-7873

Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
David Croteau, AIA, LEED AP - Principal-in-Charge
Christopher Brown, AIA - Project Manager
Joseph Marshall, Assoc. AIA - Project Designer

Interior designer: Bruce Danzinger

Mechanical: Hakalau Engineering

Structural: Walter Vorfeld & Associates

Electrical: Moss Engineering

Civil: Ken Nagai Consulting Services

Landscape: Ki Concepts

Proect Manager: Ken Melrose, Pa'ahana Enterprises

General contractor: Quality Builders

Matthew Millman Photography

Gross square footage:

15,300 square feet

Total construction cost:


Completion date:

August 2012



Structural system
Wood Framing, Timber Truss, & Joist Framed

Exterior cladding: James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding

Metal/glass storefront: Kawneer Storefront 451T, Breezeway Sliding Alumnum Doors

Wood: Douglas Fir Panel Screens

Curtain wall/Storefront: Kawneer Storefront 451T

Other cladding unique to this project: Native Ironwood Windscreens

Metal: Steel Scape Zincalume

Windows: Altair Jalousie Louvers

Glass: SolarBan 60, Low-E, Insulated Glazing

Skylights: Solatube

Wood doors: Nanawall Folding Panel Wood & Glass Doors

Sliding doors: FleetwoodSliding Glass Doors

Special doors:Cookson Coiling Overhead Doors

Locksets: Nest Locksets

Closers: Glynn-Johnson Closers

Interior finishes
Acoustical wall panels: Lamvin, Inc.

Suspension grid: Tectum Ceiling Panels

Paints and stains: Sherwin Williams

Wall coverings: Guildford of Maine Fabric Panel Covering

Paneling: Gypsum Wallboard

Floor and wall tile: DAL Tile in toilet rooms

Carpet: Interface Stroll Series Carpeting

Direct/Indirect: Avera Lighting

Downlights: Lightolier Calculite LED

Pathways: Phoenix Turtle Bollard

Parking Area: Visionaire Lighting

Exit Signs: Lucenta Photoluminescent Exit Signs

Standard low-flow toilet fixtures

Photovoltaic system: Islandwide Solar 25 kiloWatt System, CentroSolar Panels

Other unique products that contribute to sustainability:
Rainwater Harvesting: Rainwizard 50-Gallon Barrels