Noelani Elementary School – I.D.E.A. Center


Noelani Elementary School

Honolulu, Hawaii
Completed 2021

The Innovate / Discover / Explore / Achieve — IDEA — Center is a multipurpose building featuring a modern school library facility as well as a Makerspace. The main library space is designed to foster the love of books and learning among young readers. Clerestory windows in the large, high-ceilinged room provide daylight as well as views to the green ridges surrounding the school. Noelani’s large print book collection is featured in built-in bookshelves, which flank reading nook window seats. A cozy story area with a colorful rug, moveable shelving, and a technology classroom support the library’s current needs and future flexibility.

Floor plan efficiencies as well as the use of outdoor walkways and generous lanai spaces for student circulation allowed the IDEA Center’s required program to include a Makerspace, an open, flexible space for gatherings and project-based learning. Climate-sensitive design features include a naturally ventilated space, open to the outdoors. The IDEA Center’s distinctive sawtooth roof was designed to be both PV-ready and a way to highlight the building’s strategies for sustainable water management, which include cisterns, bioswales, and a rain garden.


Honolulu Chapter, American Institute of Architects
Award of Excellence, 2022