The Pacific Buddhist Academy (PBA) project consists of a new 2-story, 12,000 SF CMU and steel building along Lusitana Street. This Design-Build Project took nearly 4 years for the initial concept and was the combined efforts of the Ralph S. Inouye, RIM Architects, and PBA. The project was accomplished through consistent communication between RSI, the architect, client, and affiliated parties, including the Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin Temple and PBA’s partner, Hongwanji Mission School (HMS). 

The building is situated on a steep hill, on which the back of the building appears to be three stories tall. At the front of the building is a concrete amphitheater and a garden featuring both native and introduced species of plants, with landscaping wrapping around the sides. Master craftsmen were brought in to work on the gold-leafed Buddhist shrine and the traditional Japanese tea room, which has a sunken hearth built into the floor. Moreover, tradition and technological innovation come together in the building’s multipurpose room. In addition to housing the altar, the room  features a foldable wall, which also functions as a white board, enabling the space to accommodate the need for classrooms as the school continues to grow. The room’s surround sound system and advanced lighting system are intended to be used for PBA performances. The tall glass windows near the entrance can also be folded to allow easy access to the room from the outside. For educational purposes, the designers called for an open ceiling to allow students to observe the inner workings of the building, while maintaining an aesthetically pleasing look.


To make the most out of the educational opportunity, RSI took on a student from PBA as an intern. Aspiring to be an engineer, this experience gave her the chance to attain hands on experience, learn different aspects of the industry, and gain insight into what it means to be an engineer. For her, it has been one of the highlights of her high school experience, and she says she is very grateful for the chance to see her school being built from the ground up.