Located at the mauka end of the East-West Road on the University of Hawaiis Manoa campus, this NCMA award winning building used five different colors to provide a pattern resembling grains of sand. The architect wanted a building material that was low maintenance, cost effective and would withstand the elements for the lifetime of the building. By using groundface (burnished/honed) concrete blocks as the main exterior building material, no additional surface finishes were needed. Groundface units are manufactured with an integral water repellent admixture. After construction, a clear surface water repellent sealer was applied.

Group 70 International Inc., used 5 different colors of groundface units and created a pattern inspired by grains of sand found on the beach or ocean floor. The colors of the groundface units are: Outback, Cocoa, Garnet, Kahlua and Pepper.

C-MORE Hale incorporates sustainable design and received LEED Platinum certification. Groundface block will help in achieving energy savings as well as regional materials credit toward LEED certification.

Project Information


C-MORE (Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education) Hale


University of Hawaii Manoa campus
Honolulu, HI


Group 70 International Inc.

Masonry Contractor

Ono Construction

Featured Materials

Colored and textured CMU block
Brunished and split face block
Soldier source and vertical stack block


Low maintenance
Cost effective
Water repellent admixture
Sustain energy savings