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Manoa Campus
Framework for the Future

Shepherding the transformation of a Western university campus into a Native Hawaiian place of learning


The largest University of Hawaii campus across the Hawaiian island chain, UH Manoa, wanted to transform its traditional, western-planned campus from representing a colonial-era institution into a Native Hawaiian Place of Learning. Furthermore, The university sought to expand enrollment within the physical and financial constraints of its taxpayer-funded capital program.


MKThink informed their strategic design framework with both user and spatial data. Through extensive engagement with all levels of the campus community, MKThink led the development of guiding principles and planning objectives to navigate the university transformation.

MKThink assessed campus patterns and perceptions using advanced sensors and crowd-sourced tools. The team then analyzed building conditions, space utilization, and scheduling to understand opportunities for expanding the effective capacity of the existing campus. Finally, MKThink identified specific strategies and guidelines for the targeted transformation of high-impact locations on campus.


MKThink created a long-range plan that supports 10% enrollment growth, particularly among Native Hawaiians, over 20 years while reducing campus square footage by 1,000,000 square feet. The strategy to recapture, consolidate, and activate indoor and outdoor campus spaces helped the university avoid over $600 MM in new construction costs and reduce its deferred maintenance backlog by $150 MM.

Since the framework was introduced, UH Manoa has improved classroom utilization from 17 to 30 hours per week while improving administrative space occupant density by 64%.


University of Hawaii, Manoa


Campus Needs Assessment
Campus Framework Plan
Design Guidelines
Project Prioritization Framework


Honolulu, Hawaii


9.7 M GSF; 500 acres


Higher Education


Facilities Utilization 2017
Campus Master Plan 2018
Campus Planning (various) 2017-Present

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