Military community development is quite the undertaking. Start with a 10-year construction period incorporating 7,894 units, of which 5,388 involve the demolition of existing stock and construction of brand-new homes. Renovate the remaining 2,506 units, 15 percent of which are historic. Next, add in infrastructure development and the construction of nine new community centers. Finally, toss in the discovery of 20,000 pounds of unexploded ordnance, including projectile fragments, practice mortars, and hand grenade fuses. It's a complicated endeavor, to say the least.
All in a day's work for Actus Lend Lease's Schofield Barracks, Hawaii-based Army Hawaii Family Housing division, one of the leading developers involved in the Military Housing Privatization initiative and the builder of the 637-unit Kalakaua Community, the first phase of its 7,500-unit redevelopment of the U.S. Army's Schofield Barracks in Hawaii. Step one in countering the ongoing logistical conundrums of military development: Start with a plan. “Military developers don't necessarily have a significant background in military lifestyles,” explains Army Hawaii Family Housing (AHFH) project director Claire Ridding-Johnston. “So, always run consultations with the community before you even begin designing. From the outset you want to be engaging the future residents of your homes to understand what their specific needs and issues are.”
What's the No. 1 need for military families who relocate approximately every three years? Storage, storage, and more storage, according to AHFH focus groups. Eight distinct floor plans in the Kalakaua Community maximize stowaway space in oversized walk-in closets and dedicated storage rooms. To make new arrivals feel more like members of an established neighborhood, AHFH designed Kalakaua to retain hundreds of mature, indigenous trees, and additionally emphasized streetscapes, jogging trails, parks, and open space to encourage neighborhood interaction and to promote a safe environment.
As for the unexploded ordnance, that's now safely disposed of as well. “It's what makes life interesting here,” Ridding-Johnston says. “You are operating on an active military installation. You don't know what you are going to find. But it is heartening to know that when those things do happen, there are plenty of ballistics experts nearby.”
Fast Facts Developer/Builder: Actus Lend Lease (d.b.a. Army Hawaii Family Housing)
Architect: Town & Home
Grand Opening: June 2006 (completion in 2016)
No. of Units: 637
Unit Mix: Three-, four- and five-bedroom single- and double-story homes
Prices: N/A (depends on military housing allowance)
Judge's Verdict “THIS CREATIVE, WELL PLANNED COMMUNITY HAS THOUGHTFUL FLOOR PLANS TO SUIT MANY DIFFERENT TYPES OF MILITARY FAMILIES.” —Grace Sawin, senior project manager, Rippeteau Architects