PBR HAWAII’s design for the Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Campus Middle School’s Piko is an example of incorporating sustainability, Hawaiian culture and 21st Century school design concepts in a landscape design for the campus. Situated at an angle between two new buildings, the Piko serves as the “heart of the Middle School” and was designed to symbolize a Pahu Drum, to reflect that every drum, like each student on campus, has its own voice.
At the center of the Piko, is a platform designed to serve as the “voice box” of the drum where a Kahu could stand for the Middle School’s daily pule (prayer). Kalo is planned to be planted in the grassed area encircled by amphitheater-style seating surrounding the “voice box”. The space will also serve as an outdoor learning environment for lectures and other cultural activities.
Sustainability is a key proponent of the landscape design and is used as an educational tool for students to learn about rainwater catchment. The rainwater catchment system was strategically designed so students can see how rainwater is captured from the hardscape plaza and seating areas and to drain into the center of the Piko. Overflow from the center of the Piko will be collected, trickle down, and be released through water spouts that flow into the lo‘i below.
In addition, native and culturally significant plants are integrated into the project and have become a part of the curriculum and learning experience. Hawai‘i’s landscape lineage is reflected by creating a timeline of past, present, and future landscape ecosystems. Three distinct garden spaces feature plant material of Hawai‘i’s:
1. Past, including native endemic and indigenous species;
2. Present, including Polynesian-introduced species; and
3. Future, including introduced species.
This landscape concept reinforces education, sustainability, Hawaiian culture and values of Malama ‘Aina, while being respective of the climate and setting of the Middle School.