Going Green At 40 S. School

By Philip K. White
Wednesday - December 26, 2007
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The crew at Philip K.White and Associates
The crew at Philip K.White and Associates (sitting) Philip “Pip” White, Terine Higa, (standing) Michelle Gobrick, Stacey Shepard, Laura Ayers, Sean Maloney, Craig Collado, Howard Nett and Ed English

Philip K. White

President of Philip K. White & Associates

As a sixth-generation Hawaii resident born and raised on Oahu, I learned early in life the importance of showing respect and stewardship for our land, and of celebrating and protecting the native Hawaiian culture.

When I set out to be an architect 30 years ago, I knew that I wanted to design beautiful, one-of-a-kind structures that made sense for our island home.

Long before “green building” became a national trend, Philip K White & Associates has been designing homes and office buildings that work in harmony with, not against, nature. Since our firm was founded in 1984, we have led the way in smart, sustainable, environmentally sensitive and culturally respectful design in the islands.

We were among the first to demonstrate how “green buildings” and “stylish, user-friendly, visually appealing buildings” do not have to be mutually exclusive.

One project that best epitomizes our “green philosophy” and culturally sensitive approach, which we incorporate into each of our designs, is the Molokai Ranch Kaupoa Village. The Kaupoa Village was carefully designed around several archaeological sites and features solar water heating, solar electric supply and composting toilets.

Not only has this project won accolades and awards, but it also serves as living proof of the possibilities - and natural beauty - that arise when you commit to designing places that celebrate all that makes Hawaii such a special place.

By working on these and other sustainable “green” designs over the last 20 years, we have gained experience and inspiration to conquer our most recent project and toughest client - ourselves.

Starting in 2006, we began transforming a modest, abandoned building - the previous home of the popular local delicatessen Kaneda’s located at 40 S. School St. on Oahu - into new offices for Philip K White & Associates and Philpotts and Associates.

Our goal? To show how eco-friendly design practices can be simply and easily incorporated into a modern Hawaii office building that’s both lovely to look at and great to work in.

Today, the newly renovated building at 40 S. School St. showcases the blending of architectural design with green building technology. It also provides a great place for our growing company to expand.

Our new offices serve as a “living laboratory” for the latest green design features that can be incorporated into any home or office. Every aspect of the building - from the solar panels, to the environmentally conscious flooring, to the lighting and bathroom fixtures - represents the latest in “green” design elements. We hope our new office inspires our clients, friends and family to incorporate these green design practices in their own building designs, as well in their daily lives.

At Philip K White & Associates, we not only believe in building green, but in living green as well. All employees of Philip K White & Associates are encouraged to bike or run to work. We provide a special bathroom, equipped with a shower and changing area that has been built-in specifically to promote an active, car-free lifestyle. Special parking stalls have been designated for hybrid vehicles, and our office’s third floor features an outdoor lanai area where employees can enjoy Hawaii’s fresh air and warm weather.

Several other local businesses have joined us in practicing a “green business lifestyle” by becoming tenants in our new building. Well-known interior designer Mary Philpotts McGrath played a key role as owner and designer of the 40 S. School St. project, and she also has opened her new offices on the second floor. Stanley Ito Florist, one of Hawaii’s most popular and beloved florists, will soon move into the building’s first floor.

Today, 40 S. School St. is a testament to what a careful attunement to one’s environment, hard work, dedication and a vision can accomplish. While we originally set out to recycle an old and unused building, in the end what we were able to create is a shining example of how to live and work green.


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