Despite sitting squarely in hurricane territory, the island of Kauai has very few buildings made almost entirely from concrete. But in 2003, when architect Dean Sakamoto was asked to complete Vladimir Ossipoff's original master plan for the National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) by designing the Juliet Rice Wichman Botanical Research Center, concrete was the best option. “The building had to be lean [financially], but had to be a 100-year building, and also needed to withstand hurricanes,” says Sakamoto, describing just a few of the structure's requirements. The final design is a two-level structure cut into a hill above the garden—the building's second level is all that is visible from the street.

It was during the construction process, however, that Sakamoto's team learned at least one of the reasons concrete is used so sparingly in the environment: The island has only one ready-mix plant, and only 10 cement trucks that carry 10 cubic yards apiece, meaning that the 320-cubic-yard pour that had to be completed for the building's second-story floor plate required a carefully choreographed train of trucks going back and forth from the site to the plant, hoping that the traffic gods were with them.

Despite the unconventional pour, the concrete helped meet another requirement for the design: earning LEED Gold certification. Committed as a LEED building from the start, the research center is the first green building on the island and was a learning process for the client, the craftspeople, and the architect himself. “I introduced them to LEED,” says Sakamoto. “I hadn't done a LEED building before, but I was a member of the U.S. Green Building Council.”

To maximize the building's sustainable potential, a photovoltaic (PV) array on the roof contributes to the building's energy load. “PV panels are fused to the roof,” says Sakamoto. “The perimeter of the panels has a fringe that is the same material [as the roofing membrane], so the panels were heat-welded to the roof. This avoids points of penetration, and the panels don't act as sails in high winds.”

Dean Sakamoto
 Principal 
 Dean Sakamoto Architects
Credit: Mariko Reed Dean Sakamoto
Principal
Dean Sakamoto Architects

The PV panels are part of a larger active roof system that allows light penetration into the building through skylights and collects rainwater. The rainwater collects and moves quickly across the TPO roofing membrane and collects in a 25,000 gallon cistern. “The garden has a real issue,” says Sakamoto. “The existing irrigation system doesn't have enough power to push water up the hill. Now, the spigot can be opened, and gravity takes the water to the garden below.” On the building interior, the architect kept materials to a minimum, including staining the concrete floor with Lithochrome Chemstain from Scofield Systems instead of installing carpet or hardwood. Wherever possible, glass separates the enclosed spaces so that views are maintained and light can enter. The spaces are open, allowing the NTBG to install shelves to hold the 56,000 plant species that constitute the institution's herbarium. A rare-book room on the lower level holds one of the nation's largest collections of antique botany books, the bequest of which sped up the building's timeline. An HVAC system maintains humidity levels throughout, combatting the moist tropical air. “The building is basically hermetically sealed,” Sakamoto jokes.

Sakamoto credits careful planning for keeping the project on track. And on track it was—the idiosyncrasies of using concrete on an island aside, the building was completed two months ahead of schedule and $500,000 under the $11 million total budget.

Project: Juliet Rice Wichman Botanical Research Center
Location: Kalaheo, Hawaii
Client: National Tropical Botanical Garden—Charles R. Wichman Jr. (chief executive officer and director)
Architect: Dean Sakamoto Architects, New Haven, Conn.—Dean Sakamoto (principal); Kenneth Kajiwara (associate); Jim Reilly (job captain); Amado Aquinaldo, Ann Cassidy, Christopher Dial, David Ainsworth, Elizabeth Bishop, Jeff LeMay, Jing Huang, Jing Lin, Jordan Barr, Karl Mascarenhas, Lindsay Suter, Margo Angelopoulos, Mo Lee, Nathan Herrero, Nicholas Stoutt, Reuben Herzl, Steve Ybarra, Wael El Dasher, William Douglas Matthew (project team)
Leed Commissioner: Air Balance Hawaii
Geotechnical Consultant: Masa Fujioka & Associates
M/E/P Consultant: Steve Winter Associates
Mechanical Consultant: Southport Engineering Associates
Electrical Consultant: PC Aero-Electric
LEED Consultant: Viridian Energy & Environmental
Civil Engineering Consultant: Wagner Engineering
Structural Engineering Consultant: Schlach Bergermann und Partner
Structural Engineering Consultant: William Blakeney Inc.
Acoustical Consultant: Cavanaugh Tocci Associates
Lighting Consultant: Atelier Ten
Lighting Consultant: Eron Ashley
Cost Estimator Consultant: Rider Hunt Levett & Bailey
General Contractor: Unlimited Construction Services
Size: 20,000 square feet
Cost: $10.5 million

PRODUCT SPECS
Structure Titan HV formwork
Titan Formwork Systems
titanformwork.com

Concrete
Glover-Honsador
gloverltd.com

Eucon 37 water-reducing admixture
The Euclid Chemical Co.
euclidchemical.com

Building insulation
CertainTeed Corp.
certainteed.com

Vapor barrier
DuPont
tyvek.com

Astro-Foil radiant barrier
Innovative Specialties
innovative-specialties.com

Cold-formed metal framing
Dietrich Metal Framing
dietrichindustries.com

Power actuated fasteners
Simpson Strong-Tie Co.
strongtie.com

Drywall stud
Dietrich Metal Framing
dietrichindustries.com

ProFin Joint Compound All Purpose Compound
CertainTeed Corp.
certainteed.com

Drywall Joint Tape
BPB Marco/CertainTeed Corp.
bpb-na.com

World Mix siding
TerraMai
terramai.com


Roofing Thoroseal waterproofing membrane
BASF
basf.com

Roofing insulation and adhesive ACFoam-II
Atlas Roofing Corp.
atlasroofing.com

TPO thermoplastic roofing membrane
Burke Industries
burkeind.com

Solar cell power conditioning system
Satcon Technology Corp.
satcon.com

PowerGate Plus photovoltaic system inverter
Satcon Technology Corp.
satcon.com


Coatings Edoco Aqua Resin Cure
Dayton Superior
edoco.com

Vulkem 45 SSL sealant
Tremco
tremco.com

Lithochrome Chemstain Classic concrete floor stain
Scofield Systems
scofiield.com

Pitt-Tech paints
Pittsburgh Paints
pittsburghpaints.com

SealGrip primers/sealers
Pittsburgh Paints
pittsburghpaints.com

Sun-Proof exterior wood stain
Pittsburgh Paints
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Finishes Cabinet liner sheets
Wilsonart International
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Horizontal Forming Grade HGP (HF-4) plastic laminate
Nevamar Decorative Surfaces
nevamar.com

Exotic hardwood lumber in teak
TerraMai
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Ceramic tile Debris Series
Fireclay Tile
fireclaytile.com

Keracolor S grout
MAPEI Corp.
mapei.us

Louvers and vents, Model 653XP
JL Industries
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Flooring World Mix flooring
TerraMai
terramai.com

Floor mats
Mats Inc.
matsinc.com

In a Snap carpet
Shaw Contract Group
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Doors and Windows Hollow metal steel doors and frames, 707 Series
Curries Co.
curries.com

FireGuard Plus flush wood doors
Eggers Industries
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F-Style Door, Euro Top & Bottom Patches
PRL Glass Systems
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SentryGlas Plus exterior glazing
DuPont
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Ceilings Acoustical ceiling panels
Tectum
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Acoustical ceiling drywall grid system
Armstrong
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Walls and Surfaces ProRoc Type X gypsum board
CertainTeed Corp.
certainteed.com

ProRoc interior ceiling gypsum board
CertainTeed Corp.
certainteed.com

ProRoc moisture-resistant gypsum board
CertainTeed Corp.
certainteed.com

Sheetrock Acoustical Sealant
USG Corp.
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Two-hour-rated gypsum board shaft-wall assemblies
Dietrich Metal Framing
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Cork bulletin board
Claridge Products and Equipment
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Fire Protection Fire Protection Academy fire extinguisher cabinet
JL Industries
jlindustries.com

Life Safety fire alarm system control panel
GE Security
est.net

Fire alarm system intelligent initiating device
GE Security
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Clean agent extinguishing system
Fenwal Protection Systems
fenwalfire.com

SmartOne intelligent detectors
Fenwal Protection Systems
fenwalfire.com


Vertical Transport Electric Traction Elevators
Kone Corp.
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Plumbing and Fixtures Recessed paper towel dispenser and waste receptacle
Bobrick
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Surface-mounted multiroll toilet tissue dispenser
Bobrick
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Surface-mounted soap dispenser
Bobrick
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Surface-mounted napkin disposal
Bobrick
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Heavy-duty clothes hook with concealed mounting
Bobrick
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Mirror with stainless steel channel frame
Bobrick
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Stainless steel grab bars with snap flange
Bobrick
bobrick.com

Swing-up grab bar
Bobrick
bobrick.com

Walk-in freezer
National Cooler/Hill Phoenix
nationalcooler.com

DropIn Sink
Durcon Laboratory Tops
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Systems Diesel generator set
Cummins Power Generation
cumminspower.com

Close coupled pump
Aurora Pump
aurorapump.com

PVC rigid electrical conduit
PW Eagle
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HVAC Air-cooled scroll chiller
York by Johnson Controls
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Chilled water system
Liebert Corp.
liebert.com

Indoor central station air-handling units with variable speed drive
Trane
trane.com

Blower coil air handler
Trane
trane.com

Uni-flange valve
Griswold Controls
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Isolator R
Griswold Controls
griswoldcontrols.com

Expansion tank
Elba-Ustek Group
elba-ustek.com

Air-elimination equipment
Amtrol
amtrol.com

Foamglas insulation
Pittsburgh Corning Corp.
pittsburghcorning.com


Lighting and Shading Dual-technology ceiling mount sensor
Lutron
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Calculite compact fluorescent surface cylinder
Lightolier
lightolier.com

Sightlines lighting
Rebelle Architectural Lighting
rebellelighting.com

Site Lightforms
Kim Lighting
kimlighting.com

Mini Forecast series
Forum
forumlighting.com

Energos lighting systems
Lightolier
lightolier.com

Recessed wall washer
H.E. Williams Inc.
hew.com

Nova T lighting controls
Lutron
lutron.com

Horizontal louver blinds
Levolor
levolor.com

Insolroll Sheerweave roller shades
Window Trends
windowtrends.hdwfg.com