Mānoa: UH architecture students win national award for reimagining Kalihi

UH News

University of Hawaiʻi at MānoaContact:Posted: Sep 25, 2018Rendering of outdoor community space in KalihiKhoa Nguyen and Valerie Nica RibaoThe term “agricultural urbanism” may seem like an oxymoron, but two University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa doctor of architecture (DArch) candidates were honored nationally for effectively visualizing the concept of incorporating and intensifying agricultural activity in a city setting like Kalihi.The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) awarded Khoa Nguyen and Valerie Nica Ribao a $1,250 prize for their project, “Oʻahu Ahupuaʻa: Connecting Land, Water and People,” in the agricultural urbanism category of the annual Designing Healthy Places competition. The team was one of five national winners selected out of 169 entries.Their renderings reimagined the ahupuaʻa for the 21st century, a self-sustaining unit in Hawaiian cultural and trade practice. It focused on turning industrial structures into a farmers’ market and greenhouse to support local products grown from the mountains and forested uplands.The greenhouse would provide supplies and seedlings that could be given to farmers. An aquaponics system was placed in the stream to further clean the water before it met the ocean.“The Kalihi ahupuaʻa has largely fallen into disrepair. It is hidden from sight, forgotten and disconnected, with trash on its banks and overgrown with invasive plants,” said Nguyen. “Our design was guided by the Hawaiian value of mālama ʻaina, to care for the land so it, in turn, can sustain life for ourselves and future generations.”Added Ribao, “I am seeking a DArch as a step to get my professional license as an architect. Generally, I want to focus on urban equality for the elderly in the Kalihi area, where I grew up.”A jury of design and health experts was impressed with the students’ vision: “This project intentionally broadens the definition of health to include environmental and cultural …

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