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"E Komo Mai" to Ma'ili
Landscape Architect by PBR Hawaii & Associates of Honolulu



While the new center has several areas of traditional playground equipment under shade canopies, it also has 3 pods of "abstract themed" climbing sculptures that vary in size and shape. All the play areas have synthetic turf underfoot.
Top photo by PBR Hawaii & Associates of Honolulu

The Community Learning Center at Ma'ili (CLC-M) on the mountainous west shore (Wai'anae Coast) of Oahu opened last year. CLC-M educates 245 preschoolers and 32 infants and toddlers. The center was made possible through a collaboration of Kamehameha Schools and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. In June 2012, the Hawaiian Homes Commission approved a 65-year lease to Kamehameha Schools for 40 acres on the former Voice of America site to develop the learning center.

The sign in front of the center says "E Komo Mai"--which laterally means come inside or enter. The outdoor area behind the school offers pods of traditional play pieces for the different age groups, but what immediately catches the eye are custom climbing boulders dispersed throughout the outdoor play environment away from the play pods. The boulders, each unique in size, shape and configuration, are designed and fabricated by ID Sculpture. Founder Ian Glas developed a passion for rock climbing at an early age and gravitated to the climbing-wall industry. Dissatisfied with the plywood and steel fabrication methods, he and some like-minded climbers/fabricators set out to develop more flexible design materials. When Ian and company hit upon a cement coating mix that could be contoured to a structural armature, they felt they had arrived.


ID Sculpture of Gunnison, Colorado uses sophisticated modeling software to test its 3D boulder concepts. Once the piece is right, a 4-axis computer-controlled cutting machine replicates the sculptural model, then sculptors apply the proprietary GFRC shell and hand sculpt the finish surface.

The climbing boulders, digitally fabricated of composite GFRC and hand-finished, serve to anchor the outdoors to the adjacent glass walled classrooms. The boulders stand out in the space, giving a certain permanence, strength and additional interest to the outdoor area. The boulders draw kids in to explore and feel their way up, around, down and even through the sculpted climbers. Each offers a level of imaginative play and physical challenges.

As seen in LASN magazine, June 2017.

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October 13, 2019, 6:55 pm PDT

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