The Building and Landscaping
‘Imiloa's spectacular building design celebrates Hawaiian culture's connection to both the sea and the sky. The conical shapes of the roofs, made of titanium, were inspired by the three largest mountains on the Big Island of Hawaii: Maunakea, Maunaloa and Hualalai.
Inside, a large skylight hovers directly over a visually stunning entrance with a 14' tile mosaic which celebrates the ocean, the voyaging canoe, Maunakea and the constellation known as Manaiakalani, or Maui's fish hook. The mosaic Voyage of the Navigator was designed by artist Clayton Young. It was crafted by Bisazza in Italy and has 140,000 glass tiles.
Key features of the iconic building, besides the dramatic cones, include the restaurant space with ceiling to floor glass walls, the 120-seat planetarium which was the first in the world with stereoscopic 3D capability, 12,000 square feet exhibit hall, and the Moanahoku (Ocean of Stars) multi-purpose event space.
The 42,000 square foot ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center was designed by Mel Choy, principal of M5 Architecture (previously known as Durrant Media 5) and built by Taisei Construction Company. It was designed and built with 75% recycled materials, and houses systems to control power and light consumption to provide overall environmental efficiency. The building has been awarded Leadership in Energy Efficient Design (LEED) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.
The building sits on 9.1 acres of land which is part of the University of Hawaii at Hilo Science and Technology Park campus. The award-winning landscaping which surrounds the building, features one of the state's largest collection of endemic, indigenous, and "canoe" plants. It was designed by Randall Monaghan and shows the changing vegetation at different elevations on the ascent up Maunakea volcano.