It has been more than 20 years since Sam and Mary Cooke acquired three adjoining lots to save Kūkaʻōʻō Heiau from development. With the building of the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Visitor Education Hale, their vision to create a comprehensive living classroom dedicated to inspiring people to be thoughtful stewards of Hawaiʻi is now fulfilled.
The 4,125-square-foot LEED Gold multi-purpose center offers space for expanded educational programs that engage and nurture tomorrow’s leaders while also preserving the residential ambience of Mānoa Valley.
A circular Hawaiian Star Compass-designed driveway incorporates an ancient wayfinding art developed by Polynesian Voyaging Society’s president, Nainoa Thompson, who trained under Micronesian master navigator, Mau Piailug. The Hawaiian islands were discovered approximately a thousand years ago by ancient Polynesian voyagers using clues from the natural world around them – sun and stars, waves and swells, winds and clouds, birds and fish – to determine position and which direction to sail. This traditional non-instrument navigation required a deep respect and understanding of the sea and sky.
Sam and Mary’s long-term commitment to conserve natural resources was key in pursuing LEED-certification for the Hale and ensure energy self-sufficiency with the installation of 9.81 kWh photovoltaic panels and 14.4 kWh Blue Ion storage batteries. They were intent on providing buildings that thoughtfully incorporate reduction of water consumption, waste management processes and Native Hawaiian plants throughout the site.
“This beautiful space provides a serene environment within urban Honolulu to engage audiences more deeply with Hawaiʻi’s incredible biocultural diversity,” Mary Cooke, co-founder