Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps
Parkway, Kapolei, Hawai‘i
was Ray & Joan Kroc's dream and vision to have community centers
around the country built in needy areas and Kapolei, Hawai‘i
was the recipient of one of the biggest endowments of $110 million,
with an additional $23 million raised locally.
The Salvation Army, Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community
Center's grand opening presented itself to the community on January
28, 2012. “My grandmother wanted every child, no matter his or her
economic background, to enjoy a more luxurious place than they ever
imagined,” said the granddaughter of Joan Kroc. This
special non-profit Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center
includes a worship center, a keiki learning center, arts and sports
facilities and is home of the most native Hawaiian plant species and
plants used in the Hawaiian culture in any community center. Since
endangered species capital of the world, preserving
and celebrating Hawai‘i's
native plants was the focus. The
landscape design accomplished this goal to plant as many native
plants as possible to insure the vital survival of native Hawaiian
importantly, 3 native Hawaiian plant species have found their
way back to their Kapolei home.
The native plants, Naio, Ewa Hinahina, and the
Ko'oloa'ula all originated from the Kapolei area.
15 acre, 200,000 s.f. facility is the talk of the town of Kapolei.
This area, once filled with sugarcane fields, has become a welcoming
place to bring the community together. This
state-of-the-arts facility is more than a community center with so
many interesting and different areas.
The landscape design was essential to connect the variety of
building functions and outdoor activities.
A landscape master plan was developed to seamlessly
incorporate the many areas and buildings, while creating special
gathering spaces for each specific planned area.
landscape was especially important to instill a warm sense of
community. The plant
selections played a significant role in creating the atmosphere for
each of the varied gathering spaces.
Tree species were carefully selected to provide identity and
landscape architect and the landscape contractor went the extra mile
to assure this. After
many nursery and plant sourcing visits, trees and plants were tagged
and reserved well over a year in advance of the planting day, giving
the plants a chance to acclimate to the hot Kapolei climate. The
stage was set!
meandering pathway amongst a grove of swaying Coconut Palms and the
waving leaves of the Hala Trees, seem to invite community members
and visitors to the entrance. The
main welcoming entrance is graced with 2 native Loulu Fan Palms.
This entrance is filled with native plants, including the
attractive varied green color fronds of the Hapu’u Tree Ferns that
greet visitors as they start their journey through the Kroc
in the Kroc Center, 6 stately Loulu Fan Palms fill the courtyard
with a sense of openness and grandness.
And most importantly, throughout the Kroc Center, the trees
and palms proudly frame The Salvation Army Cross. The carefully
formally placed Loulu Fan Palms create a pleasant seating area
below, while the shadow play of the palm leaves seem to dance on the
pavement. A trellis draped with cascading White Thunbergia Vine
flowers provide the perfect setting for performances at the outdoor
pavilion gathering space.
tree and plant species were selected for their function, but more
importantly, these trees and plants were chosen for their meaningful
cultural significances. An
example, is the use of the native Kou Trees, a favorite shade tree
that were planted around ancient Hawaiian hales.
Kou Trees are now planted around the boundaries of the Kroc
Community Center’s home to provide shade and to help mitigate the
strong trunks and gnarled branches of the 3 native Kamani Trees
anchor the central courtyard and capture the prominence of the area.
The main functions of the trees are to provide shade but
it’s meaning in celebrating its ancestral roots, makes its
strength and majestic precedence known. The Kamani Trees were the
first trees chosen during the design stages and the landscape design
seems to easily flow around it.
Courtyard's graceful meandering pathways functionally connect the
Worship Center, Conference Facility, Classrooms and Art Studio and
also serve a grander purpose of providing a central gathering place.
In the Center of the
courtyard is the Zoysia 'El Toro' grass berm, where Keiki enjoy it
with laughter and cartwheels.
planters became learning gardens for the keiki opening their minds
and unleashing the creativity through hands-on experiences in their
natural environment. Each classroom planter is planted with a
different native Hawaiian plant grouping.
Plants were selected for a meaningful source of knowledge for
the keiki of Hawai‘i.
Taro, a staple food for the Hawaiians, was specifically used
in this area so that the keiki could be aware of this important food
source for the Hawaiians. Nearby,
is a small grove planting of ‘Uki’uki that the ancient Hawaiians
used for dyeing tapa. Native
‘Akia fruit were used to stun and catch fish.
the Breadfruit Tree was so important to the lifestyle of the
Hawaiian culture, 2 were planted.
To honor its significance, the 1st Breadfruit Tree
was prominently planted in the courtyard and most importantly,
designed to frame The Salvation Army Cross.
The 2nd Breadfruit Tree is located in the heart of the Keiki
Learning Center with its role to emphasis the development of young
healthy minds in a nurturing environment.
Thornless Hala Trees were also planted for their usefulness since
nearly every part of the tree is used. The
newly planted Koaia Tree provides strength and energy to the Keiki
learning center. An
Autograph Tree (that can be used to sign names) and Sunflowers were
planted, adding to the keiki’s childhood memories. Beneath the
branches of these trees are many native Hawaiian plants and plants
used in the Hawaiian culture. Some of the natives, such as Ma’o
(Hawaiian Cotton) were selected for their cultural resources. Keiki
can learn about the sustainability of the land and how their garden
can provide food with edible plants growing in their gardens.
Low grass berms and meandering tricycle pathways were
designed to develop their motor skills.
Colorful safe play equipment and children's height seat walls
were planned for outdoor classrooms.
Within this protected area are the 3 Native Hawaiian plants
that were originally found in Kapolei.
Some of the garden spaces were planted to be interchangeable
and can be used for different classroom garden projects. Planter
spaces in front of each classroom are designed and dedicated to the
imagination and exploration for the keiki of the Kroc Center.
Designed with LEED construction practices in mind, Green screens
were installed on the building facades of many of the exposed walls.
This helped both the environment and provided a cooling
effect for the buildings. Each
gathering space is identified with different colorful flowering
vines that are trained on the green screens and trellises. White and
Lavender Thunbergia, 'Miss Manila' Bougainvillea and the native
Nanea Vines help to create a screen of green and vibrant colorful
the months of March to November, soft white and yellow flowers of
the Queen's White Shower Trees provide the much needed and required
shade for the parking lot and a happy welcoming of summer. Creating
their own special look to the parking areas, Rainbow Shower Trees
with their multi-colored flowers are planted to differentiate the
gym parking lot. The grass planted in the median strips help both to
mitigate the heat and also provide a natural drainage system for the
Nut Trees were planted in strong groupings along the service drive to
replicate the light green leaf trees in the valley, which frames the
Mountain Range beyond. They
also serve as a screen from the freeway. Below the Trees grow vast
plantings of native Beach Vitex, Beach Naupaka, and Akulikuli that
not only serve as a learning experience for the Keiki, but also
become a plant nursery. The
960 linear foot long service drive planter of native plants is also
drought tolerant to help conserve water.
In addition, to help with the conservation of water, are 2
Rain Sensors installed which automatically turn off the irrigation
system when it rains. Environmentally, utilizing plants from this
climatic ecosystem, planting drought tolerant plants for this dry
and windy Kapolei area, and specifying native plants in most areas
help to preserve and sustain our precious resources.
The Aquatic Center comes to life with pockets of planting areas in
amoeba shapes. The
circular, radiating splash paving pattern was planned to connect the
amoeba shaped planters to the active water feature areas. Heavy rock
salt finished color concrete became the hardscape paving specified
throughout. The interesting planting areas were designed to create
alcoves for chaise lounges for guests to sunbath near the pool’s
edge shaded under the canopy of the fragrant Plumeria, Beach
Heliotrope and Hala Trees. Native
Hawaiian plants are bountiful here. Besides the natural beauty, the
planting areas are also used to soften the GFRC moss rocks and to
provide a much needed cooling effect and provide relief from the
glare and heat of the hardscapes. Moss rock stepping stones were
used in heavy pedestrian traffic areas to prevent walking on the
worship center garden courtyard can be viewed from both outside and
inside the Church where members can contemplate and look out into
the tranquil courtyard garden planted with fruit trees, reminiscent
of a Medieval Garden of ancient times.
The landscape to
the largest Community Center in the state proudly stands on its own
and it is relevant to the profession and the public.
The Salvation Army is a non-profit organization that serves
as a role model in business and everyday life, making positive
contributions, to educate and support this growing community.
This new Kroc Center will add to the lifestyle with worship,
recreation, classroom, and planting activities for the Kapolei area.
Kroc Community Center was specifically designed so that every corner
of the landscape fosters a learning experience, from the variety of
the native plants, edible plants, and plants used in the Hawaiian
culture. The plants
provide interest to the special gathering spaces within the Kroc
Community Center. With
sustainability in mind, and a goal for the keiki to take part in
caring for their garden surroundings, their new community center is
a welcoming place, a gathering place where dreams are made from! It
is a beautiful place to raise and nurture beautiful minds in a
beautiful new Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community
Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center
was recognized by Scenic Hawai‘i
for a Betty Crocker Award of Excellence in 2012.