RIM Architects | NWR Headquarters & Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge Center
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NWR Headquarters & Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge Center

Location:
Kihei, HI
Role :
Architect
Client:
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Total SF :
7,500
Sustainability :
LEED Gold
About

The staff of the National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) at Kealia Pond, always challenged by their facility’s small modular office, found an opportunity to build a facility that could truly accommodate the needs of the refuge when a disastrous fire struck, destroying the existing building.  Funding was secured through the ARAA, but it required a quick fast track design.  RIM Architects was up to the challenge, providing design services for a 7,500 square foot site-sensitive, energy-efficient facility in just a five month period.

This fast track project produced a LEED Silver certified facility that has helped the refuge step forward with its’ mission to educate about the local wildlife, promote sustainability and bring to life the notion of preservation to visitors and residents alike.

Carefully sited and using architectural cues from local Maul culture, the building features double pitched hip roofs, lava rock footings and select siding, blending into the local vernacular.  The facilities include offices, meeting rooms, exhibit areas, testing labs, storage and maintenance areas.  The exhibits provide a transformative experience for visitors, building awareness and encouraging community stewardship to protect the environment and its co-habitants.  The building lives as a sustainable example with its features including energy efficient HVAC, heat island reducing pavements, photovoltaic panels providing both energy and parking shade, and lighting design that provides up to 40% savings over a typical building’s systems.  All demonstrating that the center walks the talk.

The success of the center is demonstrated by the high use of the facility with an initial increase of visitors to the refuge by 177% ­— exceeding the client’s initial expectations.  This facility is a fitting tribute to a notable refuge where visitors observe Hawai‘i’s endangered wetland birds on one of the few remaining natural wetlands of the Hawaiian Islands.