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Hawai`i Wildlife Center

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Williamweaetxdyvaydzcwq, Ruhl Walker Architects

Project Name

Hawai`i Wildlife Center


53-324 Lighthouse Road


Project Status


Year Completed



4,356 sq. feet

Construction Cost



Hawa`i Wildlife Center


  • Rhoady Lee Architecture and Design
  • Ethan Tweedie

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Project Description

The Hawai`i Wildlife Center operates Hawai`i's first wildlife recovery and rehabilitation center on a former sugarcane plantation in North Kohala, on the Big Island of Hawai`i. The organization is dedicated to the islands’ endangered native wildlife through hands-on treatment, research, training, and scientific, environmental, and cultural programs. The structure consists of three integrated and sustainably designed components: a treatment facility, a native species garden propagated and maintained by a neighboring school, and an open-air lanai and pavilion for educational and community outreach. The response facility includes a sequence of spaces specifically designed for the treatment of birds during man-made disasters, such as oil spills.

The building’s form is an abstraction of the archetypal Hawaiian commercial architecture of the nearby towns of Kapa`au and Hawi, with a planar front elevation concealing simple shed- and gable-roofed volumes behind. The strong formal presence of this plane represents the seriousness of both the organization‘s mission and its actions. In its materiality, the horizontal siding references vernacular cladding, but variations in the siding dimension and spacing allow the building to be entirely naturally cooled by the steady trade winds.

The entire design/engineering team provided their services pro bono.

The 4536 SF facility was completed in late 2011 for less than $250/SF, substantially lower than most custom architecture in Hawai`i.
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