NOAA Daniel K. Inouye Regional Center
Associated firm: Ferraro Choi
Owner: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Project site: Historic structure or district
Building program type(s): Data Center, Food Service—Restaurant/Cafeteria, Laboratory, Office—100,001 or greater, Public Assembly—General, Public Assembly—Library, Public Safety—General, Storage— general, other
Located on a national historic landmark site on Oahu’s Ford Island, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Inouye Regional Center features the adaptive reuse of two World War II-era airplane hangars linked by a new steel and glass building. The hangars inspired beautifully simple design solutions for how the center uses air, water and light. The LEED Gold complex accommodates 800 people in a research and office facility that integrates NOAA’s mission of “science, service and stewardship” with Hawaii’s cultural traditions and ecology. The interior environment, which is based on principles of campus design, creates a central gathering place.
“One reason we are able to successfully come together is due to our location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and a lifetime of lessons that come with it. There is an inherent connection between Hawaii’s people and the sea, reverence for her power, reliance as a food source and a respect for the sea and the environment through the generations.” —Former US Senator Daniel K. Inouye
Located on a national historic landmark site on Oahu’s Ford Island, the LEED Gold National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Inouye Regional Center features the adaptive reuse of two World War II-era airplane hangars linked by a new steel-and-glass building. The program consolidates more than 800 people from 15 NOAA offices that had been spread across Oahu into a single building with primary missions of environmental prediction and marine stewardship. With a goal of fusing knowledge of the ocean and the atmosphere for environmental intelligence, the research and administrative campus is designed to be a living laboratory that reinforces NOAA’s mission.
Designed in 1939 by Albert Kahn, the original aircraft hangars, which narrowly escaped destruction during the Pearl Harbor attacks, provided a model of efficiency for simple, sustainable design solutions and a healthy workplace.
The ecology of the Pacific Islands and the mission of NOAA inspired the biomimetic design of integrated systems for air flow, daylighting and water distribution. Lessons from nature that formed design principles include emulating the morphology of native Hawaiian trees for passive cooling, ventilation and lighting systems. The design conserves and reuses water and captures renewable energy through solar photovoltaic and solar thermal systems.
Viewed through lenses of history and biomimicry, the new center provides beautiful, innovative solutions to modern problems.