The Academy Learning Commons: A Place of Limitless Possibilities

Upon its completion in 2025, the Academy Learning Commons will be a hub for vibrant learning and intellectual pursuits. Centered in the heart of the Academy campus, the state-of-the-art space will help empower students across a variety of disciplines, including artificial intelligence and the new virtual and augmented reality worlds that are rapidly emerging.

Vision for the Future

Punahou will embark on the construction of the Academy Learning Commons in 2023, repurposing Cooke Library and creating a vibrant intellectual hub at the heart of the Academy campus. The project – being planned and designed by WhiteSpace Architects – will be a community-wide effort, involving a broad range of stakeholders who will collectively help to shape the dynamic opportunities for Punahou students. Meet a few of the faculty and staff who are sharing their exciting hopes and aspirations for this vibrant new space. 

Taryn Loveman, Director of Design Technology and Engineering

Our new spaces will provide an excellent education in traditional design theories and practices, but I’m also working closely with Director of the Case Accelerator for Student Entrepreneurship, Mark Loughridge, to create pathways that will empower Punahou students as leaders in artificial intelligence, and the new virtual and augmented reality worlds that are rapidly emerging. The goal is for them to not just master these new technologies, but for them to be driving the discourse and learning goals in these emerging virtual communities. Our new labs will allow us to bring in the foremost experts from around the world to teach our students to leverage the technology. We are also thrilled to continue our K – 12 cooperation with the Kuaihelani Learning Center in anchoring student experiences in technology with a core set of values and understandings rooted in the culture and place that is unique to Hawai‘i. 

Kylee Mar, Archivist

Updated space in our new ground-floor Archives space will provide an important level of security and increased accessibility for some of our School’s most precious items. Our new Archives will be similarly sized to our current space – but it will also offer much-improved climate controls which are crucial to maintaining our historic photos and documents. We share access to this collection through our digital archives and also in-person for our students and faculty to learn from. Preserving and learning from our past is an important way that our community can honor, understand and draw lessons from the history of Punahou. I am excited that our new archives space will be visible to all students, and that we will have working spaces available to help bring our history to life.

Mark Noguchi ’93, Chef and Punahou Food Curriculum Specialist

The cafe, grab and go kiosk, and food design lab are central to the design of the new Academy Learning Commons. Food is an integral and necessary part of education, and these new spaces will give us the proper equipment and setting to explore multidisciplinary, ‘āina-based lessons. It’s like a laboratory setting for life skills. We imagine our students engaging in hands-on, campus to table problem-solving in our kitchen, using food as a basis for discussion, exploration and connection. I hope to give our keiki innovative and interesting ways to learn about the world around them, grounding them with a sense of place, but also a “sense of plate.”

Learn more about the Academy Learning Commons project at

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