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NOAA Pacific Region Center, Ford Island, Hawaii: Innovation, Adaptive Re-use, and Aloha Spirit

Sandra Mendler, AIA, Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum
Joe Ferraro, AIA, Ferraro Choi and Associates

Our goal is to be LEED™ gold with 50 percent energy and water use reduction at a minimum. Strategies are being evaluated to reach the ultimate goal to be energy neutral on an annual basis while having a net positive impact on the local site conditions. Cost and value is being analyzed throughout.

Concept design, sustainable value studies and budgeting have been completed. While this project is in progress, the project will be mid-way through design development in October. All major decisions regarding systems design will be complete at this time. Design strategies include:

  • Mixed mode ventilation
  • Operable windows
  • Building integrated PV
  • Solar hot water
  • Extensive building re-use
  • Innovative daylighting strategies
  • Efficient "right sized" laboratory systems
  • Seawater cooling system
  • Greywater re-use
  • Green materials
  • Bioswales for natural stormwater management
  • Native plantings
  • Remediation of site contamination

Labs21 Connection:

This poster session will focus on both design innovation and design process. Design process challenges have become strategic assets. These include:

  • Design partnerships
  • Inter-agency collaboration
  • Adaptive re-use of historic buildings
  • FACD charrette process


Sandra Mendler, AIA, is a vice president in HOK's San Francisco office and director of the Science + Technology Group for the Northwest Region.

She received her BA in architecture from Washington University in St. Louis and her B.Arch. from Pratt Institute in NY and worked in New York City for ten years. In 1991she joined HOK's Washington DC office. While there she was involved in many federal projects including the new EPA Campus in RTP North Carolina. In 2001 she moved to the Bay Area to join HOK San Francisco.

Ms. Mendler is a nationally recognized, award winning sustainable design leader. She has received the inaugural 2001 "Sustainable Design Leadership Award" from IIDA and Collins and Aikman and the 1998 "Environmental Sensitivity Award" from the Construction Specifiers Institute. Interiors & Sources magazine selected Sandy in its list of 24 Environmental Champions for 2004. Sandy co-authored The HOK Guidebook to Sustainable Design and is lead author of The Greening Curve, Lessons Learned in the Design of the EPA Campus. She served as the 2000/2001 chair for the national Committee on the Environment (COTE) for the American Institute of Architects and is a member of the board of directors of the U.S. Green Building Council.

As Sustainable Design Principal, she has led the design effort for numerous high profile sustainable design showcase projects. Three of her projects, the National Wildlife Federation Headquarters, the World Resources Institute Offices and the Nidus Center Lab, have been selected by the AIA COTE as Top Ten Green Buildings of the Year.

Joe Ferraro, AIA, is a partner at Ferraro Choi And Associates, a mid-sized Architectural firm located in downtown Honolulu.

He received his BFA in interior design from Pratt Institute in 1971 and worked in New York City for 11 years. In 1982 he moved to Hawaii and attended the University of Hawaii School of Architecture. He co-founded Ferraro Choi And Associates with Gerald Choi in 1988 an architectural firm specializing in Sustainable "Green" Architecture and Interior Architecture. He currently holds architectural registrations in Hawaii and New York and is an accredited LEED™ professional.

Joe has been a board member of the Honolulu Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and is currently serving on the board of the AIA's Hawaii State Council and the Hawaii Architectural Foundation. He currently serves as an architectural advisor to the board of Malama O Manoa, a neighborhood community organization.

Joe is author and co-author of several research papers on sustainable design, planning, and design for research facilities in the Antarctic. He has been a panelist and speaker at the EPA's Laboratories for the 21st Century on three occasions.

Since 1984, Joe has worked on the design of projects for the National Science Foundation in Antarctica. He was project architect for the 45,000 square foot Crary Science and Technology Laboratory at McMurdo Station. In 1992 his firm was selected to head the design for the replacement of the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, a $200,000,000 project at the bottom of the earth. Ferraro Choi is currently working on research projects for the USDA's Forestry Service Laboratory in Hilo, and the Hawaii Natural Energy Laboratory (NELHA) Gateway Distributive Energy Center in Kailua Kona. The NELHA project is designed to be a LEED™ Platinum building.

Ferraro Choi is also the designer of the offices of the AIA Honolulu, a LEED™ for Commercial Interiors pilot program project. The project was the recipient of AIA design and sustainable design awards and the Mayor's Choice award for its sustainable design.


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