Cultural connections

Sian
27 Feb 2010

A unique living, evolving learning facility that encourages environmental and cultural preservation

The design for the new Mãlama Learning Center for the Nature Conservancy and the Kapolei High School Campus consists of a place where students and visitors alike learn about the conservation, heritage, and traditions of Hawai’i. In Hawaiian, the word 'mãlama' means 'to care for,' or, 'to protect,' and the design produced by Eight, Inc. exemplifies just that. Mãlama Learning Center is located on the leeward coast of O’ahu in close proximity to The Nature Conservancy’s Honolulieli Preserve and adjacent to Pu’uokapolei, a significant natural landmark in Hawaiian culture.

Every aspect of the building’s design has been carefully considered with these goals in mind, and responds to a particular set of needs, programs, and its connection with the land—the light and air qualities of the place. The design objective is to achieve an integral relationship with the ‘ãina (land). And responds directly to West Oahu’s environmental conditions, and is built with natural materials relying on renewable local resources, such as the sun, wind, recyclable water, and other materials for its support.

When completed, the Center will become a living, evolving facility, providing a gathering place, a magnet for the performing and visual arts, and a place where learning and direct experience are inseparable. The land is a constant reference in the Center, a natural and holistic platform for the culture, arts, sciences, and technology of the place. Its goal is to become a cultural model for a connection between nature and the man-made environment.

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