SCHOOL - GARDEN ENTRANCE
School is a small private school with 575 students, located on 1.8 acres
of land. Maryknoll High School moved from Dole Street to its present
location on Punahou Street overlooking the H-1 freeway in 1948. Punahou
Street was a prominent neighborhood during the Missionary times. The
Hotel MacDonald was on the property prior to the high school and, at
that time, the street was lined with Royal Palms. Many of these same
Royal Palms remained on the property but were in very poor health and
needed to be removed. With safety being the first priority and to
preserve the character of Maryknoll School’s past as well as to fulfill
the requirements of the Punchbowl Special Design District, 9 healthy
field stock Royal Palms were planted to replace the original palms.
With limited space,
every inch of land was valuable. This is why it was surprising that
after more than 50 years, Maryknoll did not make use of its 5,800 square
foot front entrance. Everyone just passed by the brown grass and hot,
noisy entrance on their way to class. Maryknoll was in need of a place
for students, faculty and staff that was conducive to learning; a place
where they could study, have lunch, or get together with friends.
with Maryknoll’s student representatives, faculty, staff, the Maryknoll
Board, Civil Engineers and the maintenance crew, a master plan took
shape. This master plan addressed the needs of the students and faculty
to provide gathering spaces, to sit, provide shade, to screen unsightly
views and to provide the much needed improvements to the entrance of
Maryknoll. After meeting with the students we found that one of their
concerns was protection of their “senior’s turf”, which surprisingly,
was merely a 5’ x 5’ concrete area.
A scope of work was
developed for the entire school with a Phase 1 plan to design and
construct a welcoming entrance. An open lawn with seating areas under 5
outdoor umbrellas, with Maryknoll’s maroon and gold school colors,
helped to encourage interaction among the students. The seating areas
were separated in height and space so that students could congregate.
Interestingly, the circular concrete tables and seating areas became the
“senior’s turf”, which they were very proud of.
School had many site constraints to overcome. Located next to the H-1
Freeway entrance and a busy Punahou Street, the noise, smell and sight
of cars were mitigated by the shaping of the land and the selection of
plant material. A gentle berm and a border of Mock Orange hedge was
designed that helped to screen the noise and pollution. A smooth and
flowing curved concrete brick header was placed to separate the grass
from the ground cover, shrubs and trees. This would ensure easier
maintenance. The layering of differing heights of plant material helped
to make a small garden space appear larger. Flowering and fragrant
trees and shrubs with Native Hawaiian plants such as Naio, Black Naio,
Ulei, ‘A’ali’i, Kulei, Native White Hibiscus and Native Gardenia created
the variety of plants that provided a second screen from the busy
streets. Ti leaves were planted for good luck and for cheering of the
Maryknoll Spartans and Pac-Five. The careful selection of leaves and
plants with textures, shapes and colors that worked well together were
important to create a simple cohesive plant palate in this small space.
The garden provided an outdoor classroom that promoted an awareness of
Native Hawaiian plants.
planted both for lei making and fragrance, filtered light and shadow
play on the ground and provided shade. The Royal Palms were placed
strategically to allow for an open grass area for students to both play
on and to enable space for a crane to be pulled up to prune the Royal
Palms. The existing large Pink Plumeria Tree was saved and along with
all of the trees and palms could be properly pruned by a Certified
Arborist. Trees with non-aggressive roots were planted to help prevent
the uplifting of the paving. With the addition of green spaces, the
glare and heat of the paving and ground was reduced. Working with the
Civil Engineer, care was taken for the grading to follow natural
drainage patterns to thus help prevent ponding and low spots as well as
to direct water away from the school buildings. The school landscape
was designed to be environmentally responsible. Care was taken to
conserve energy by planting xeriscape and Native Hawaiian plants. A new
irrigation system was added to provide low maintenance. An automatic
irrigation clock and a rain gauge were added to help to regulate the
water flow and reduce water use.
entrance is an environment that fosters learning, promotes stewardship
of the land and encourages ecological awareness. The key to the success
of the project is that what was once a barren, unused front entrance has
been transformed into a functional, attractive gathering space.
Students can be now be seen studying under the shade of the maroon and
gold umbrellas. At last, after over half a century, Maryknoll High
School, a little school by the freeway, has a delightful pleasant garden
entrance that they and the community can take pride in and enjoy.
School, Garden Entrance was recognized by Scenic Hawaii , Betty Crocker
Landscape Award of Excellence in 2004.
School, Garden Entrance was also recognized by the American Society of
Landscape Architects for an Award of Merit in 2006.
planted, planned and/or labeled at the
School Garden Entrance:
Koki’o ke’o ke’o