Defining a Critically Regional Campus Identity for UH Manoa

Manuia, John
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The University of Hawai’i at Mãnoa campus is a place of undefined institutional identity in its built environment. Its physical context, which has developed for over a century, has experienced significant transformation in its architectural content, landscape features, and experiential quality. Changes in its social, political, economic, and cultural context influenced expansion of the University’s programs and campus setting. Also influential were trends in university design and planning practice, architectural trends in Hawai’i and significant historical events. The experiential nature of the campus environment transformed, as rapid development altered the campus’ spatial qualities, functionality, comfort, aesthetic attributes, and cultural content. The university’s upkeep and maintenance practices of campus facilities and landscape, to the present day, especially impacted people’s perception of the place and the institution’s values towards cultivating its academic community. This investigation involved an analysis of these aspects to understand the contextual framework of the University of Hawai’i at Mãnoa campus. A qualitative study of user perceptions of the place further clarified the nature of people’s experience of the institutional setting and defined key aspects significant to positively shaping its community. Based on these research findings, an assessment of the 2007 UH Mãnoa Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) was conducted to determine whether the defined key principles from the study apply to current physical development plans or can be used to improve upon the plan’s vision. The result of the study is a definition of key principles to enhance a sense of place at the University of Hawai’i at Mãnoa campus. A design exercise elaborates upon the applicability of the defined key principles to the campus setting.
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