The Hawai’i Wildlife Center / Ruhl Walker Architects

© William Ruhl

Architect: Ruhl Walker Architects
Location: Halaula,
Consultants: Rhoady Lee Architecture and Design, Umemoto Cassandro Design Corporation, Tinguely Development Inc., Meridian Construction & Development, Ryan Associates General Contractors, William Blakeney Structural Engineers, Peter JK Dahlberg PE LLC, Mark Morrison And Associates, Smithsonian / SAO, Kohala Engineering, Pattison Land Surveying Inc.
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: William Ruhl

© William Ruhl

The Hawai’i Wildlife Center, a non-profit organization, is Hawaii’s first wildlife recovery center dedicated to the recovery and conservation of the islands’ unique wildlife. Through three integrated design components, this structure by Ruhl Walker Architects serves to fulfill the mission of the organization to serve as an institution devoted to research, the rehabilitation of animals, and the education and training of the general public.

© William Ruhl

The formal development of the structure is based on architecture native to the region. The planar front facade supports a gable roof that extends to the structure beyond. The facade announces entry through a large green plane that serves to contrast the perforated variably-spaced cement lap siding that both protects the building from the elements and allows for natural ventilation.


The building is separated into two interior zones that each adress a different programmatic goal of the center. The education pavilion exists separate from other zones that deal explicitly with animal treatment emphasizing the multifaceted ambition of the center. Adjacent to the building, garden exists that highlights native ecological plants.

© William Ruhl

The material palette of corrugated steel, polycarbonate sheathing, and cement lap siding, are assembled in such a way to promote natural ventilation for cooling. Roof mounted photovoltaics and run-off collection tanks also add to the building’s sustainable ambitions.

The entire project design and construction team worked pro bono, dedicating materials and services towards the completion of the project. The grassroots effort behind the creation of this foundation and its new home can be seen as a reflection of the importance of the Hawai’i Wildlife Center‘s role.

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Cite: "The Hawai’i Wildlife Center / Ruhl Walker Architects" 20 Aug 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <>