The Hawai’i Wildlife Center completes phase one.

As part of our commitment to annually contribute a minimum of 1%of our time to pro bono causes, Ruhl Walker Architects has been working with the Hawai’i Wildlife Center since 2006 on Hawai’i’s first and only native wildlife recovery, rehabilitation, and education center. The HWC is located in HalaulaHawai’i, on the Big Island of Hawai’i. 

It is difficult to think about problems of any kind amidst the overwhelming natural beauty of the Hawaiian Islands, but the sad truth is that the Islands are host to more threatened and endangered native species per square mile than any other place in the world. A report from 2010 on Climate Change states that 93% of Hawaiian birds are at medium to high vulnerability. In February 2007, the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) declared that the forests of the Hawaiian Islands are the most threatened bird habitat in the United States. The ABC stated that “most (native species) are dependent on vigilant conservation measures to survive at all.” Having seen many of the Big Island’s native birds on a recent trip sponsored by HWC founder and director, Linda Elliott, and renowned wildlife biologist and widely published photographer, Jack Jeffry, project architect Will Ruhl has an even more profound feeling of the urgency for this facility. The BP oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is all the proof one needs that tragedy can occur even in paradise.

This continues to be a labor of love as we progress with fund raising to complete the interiors of the HWC; needless to say, fund raising has been particularly difficult due to the Great Recession! But we are proud to be part of an amazing team of architects from Boston and Waimea, engineers from California and Hawai’i, a landscape architect from Oahu who grew up near the HWC site, construction managers from Hawi, and many local contractors and subcontractors who have contributed so much of their time and donated materials. The spirit of aloha is alive and well!

The interiors of the HWC are framed and roughed, but the good news is that the exterior shell and rough landscape, grading, and parking is now substantially complete.

 

The Hawai'i Wildlife Center from Lighthouse Road.

The Hawai’i Wildlife Center from Lighthouse Road.

The HWC with, from left to right, staging porch, entrance to rehabilitation facility, central public lanai, and open air classroom.

The HWC with, from left to right, staging porch, entrance to rehabilitation facility, central public lanai, and open air classroom.

The front facade of the HWC is composed of fiber cement siding that alternates from solid lap siding to slats spaced apart at different intervals to allow natural ventilation into the education pavilion and staging porch.

The front facade of the HWC is composed of fiber cement siding that alternates from solid lap siding to slats spaced apart at different intervals to allow natural ventilation into the education pavilion and staging porch.

The entrance to the HWC treatment facility is defined by planes of vibrant color set within an otherwise monochromatic composition the HWC's lanai will eventually lead to a native species garden, currently being propogated by a local school group, and will house educational displays focusing on native endangered species.

The entrance to the HWC treatment facility is defined by planes of vibrant color set within an otherwise monochromatic composition the HWC’s lanai will eventually lead to a native species garden, currently being propogated by a local school group, and will house educational displays focusing on native endangered species.

the  front wall of the staging porch -- essentially the emergency room  entrance for delivering injured birds -- is sheathed with composite  siding held apart to allow natural ventilation, a new take on an old  agricultural building tradition

The front wall of the staging porch — essentially the emergency room entrance for delivering injured birds — is sheathed with composite siding held apart to allow natural ventilation, a new take on an old agricultural building tradition.

the  side walls of the education pavilion are sheathed with clear corrugated  polycarbonate paneling, allowing natural illumination into the space  while also keeping out the prevalent rain and mist that North Kohala is  known for

The side walls of the education pavilion are sheathed with clear corrugated polycarbonate paneling, allowing natural illumination into the space while also keeping out the prevalent rain and mist that North Kohala is known for.

entry to the open air education pavilion is through the central lanai

Entry to the open air education pavilion is through the central lanai.

Closeup view of the slatted front plane of the education pavilion seen through the corrugated polycarbonate paneling.

Closeup view of the slatted front plane of the education pavilion seen through the corrugated polycarbonate paneling.

The HWC will host talks to local school groups, educational outreach on environmental issues to locals, and talks geared towards vacationers.

The HWC will host talks to local school groups, educational outreach on environmental issues to locals, and talks geared towards vacationers.

by  varying the size of the composite slats as well as the openings between  slats, a virtual "window" was created in the front facade of the  education pavilion

By varying the size of the composite slats as well as the openings between slats, a virtual “window” was created in the front facade of the education pavilion.

1 Linda Elliott  /   03.23.11 at 5:04 pm

Mahalo nui loa! Will and staff have dedicated massive amounts of time and expertise to make our Center a beautiful and functional place of healing and conservation. We can not thank you all enough and are very excited about working to complete the Center this year. It is an amazing building that I recommend all visit soon. All the best to our great friends at Ruhl Walker Architects!

2 Colorful Hawai'i Wildlife Center Protects and Rehabilitates Endangered Species on the Big Island | Inhabitat - Green Design Will Save the World  /   09.01.11 at 12:53 pm

[...] Stage 1 of the project was completed in March of 2011 and resulted in a completed exterior shell, outdoor areas and a roughly built interior. As of August, the center had finished fundraising in order to complete construction and over 100 people volunteered to plant native vegetation around the center. The HWC relies on donations from generous individuals to run the center as well prepare for emergencies such as oil spills and disasters to help wildlife recover. [...]

3 Colorful Hawai’i Wildlife Center Protects and Rehabilitates Endangered Species on the Big Island « Cool Green Magazine  /   09.01.11 at 1:22 pm

[...] Stage 1 of the project was completed in March of 2011 and resulted in a finished exterior shell, outdoor areas and a roughly built interior. As of August, the center had finished fundraising in order to complete construction and over 100 people volunteered to plant native vegetation around the center. The HWC relies on donations from generous individuals to run the center as well prepare for emergencies such as oil spills and disasters to help wildlife recover. [...]

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