Miller Hull

Honouliuli Middle School

Ewa Beach, HI
Creating a welcoming environment for 21st-century learning
Client Hawai'i Department of Education
Size 200,000 SF
Completion 2022


Honouliuli Middle School is located on an 18 acre parcel, formerly cultivated with sugar cane. The first phase of the school’s construction was complete and occupied in 2021 with two additional construction phases planned to complete the campus designed to serve 1,050 students.

The school’s main entry plaza welcomes students, faculty, and community members through a single-entry point to campus. The shaded covered walkway leads into the heart of campus, reinforcing the concept of one front door and strengthening the identity of place through a shared sense of belonging.

In partnership with Ferrero Choi, the campus is designed as a collection of separate buildings organized around a central outdoor commons area. This organizational strategy recognizes that middle schooler’s network of influence shifts from family to friends and the importance of having space that they can treat as their own in this important stage of development. By focusing communal programs around the outdoor commons, these shared spaces thrive at the heart of campus and promote the sharing of resources and ideas building off each other – cultivating a 21st century learning environment.

The campus has been organized to orient high use spaces on the windward side of buildings—oriented perpendicular to the trade winds— for optimal natural ventilation. Roof overhangs shade 100 percent of glazed areas, and large operable shutters allow program to flow from interior to exterior seamlessly. Covered walkways and vertical sunscreen slats provide shade to students and faculty as they gather at outdoor learning lanais and move throughout the exterior spaces on campus.

Availability of construction materials is challenging in Hawaii, as is finding materials that are resistant to the harsh marine environment and termites. The design team worked with local suppliers to develop a simple material palette of locally available and robust materials: precast concrete, masonry, stucco, and aluminum bi-fold shutters. Concrete was selected as the primary building material for its local availability and serves to unify the collection of buildings on campus. Expressed structure doubles as a low maintenance exterior finish and the material’s thermal mass contribute to the success of a simple passive solar cooling system.

Architectural elements throughout campus are designed to perform multiple functions as a strategy to reduce cost and maintenance. For example, the large shutters primarily operate to shade the classroom windows throughout the school day. After hours, the shutters are closed to provide security in front of the jalousie windows which remain open for night flush cooling.