Trillium Creek Primary School


Imagine a school where chocolate rivers flowed and indoor slides connected one floor to another.

Students shared these ideas—and more-- with the architects at DOWA-IBI Group during the early design sessions of the award-winning Trillium Creek Primary School in Oregon’s West Linn-Wilsonville School District. The process of listening to---and honoring-- the student voice, coupled with engaging the community around a common purpose and passion, resulted in a captivating story about creating a place and space where next generation learners could grow and thrive.

The story behind the story

Winner of the 2014 Association for Learning Environments’ prestigious James D. MacConnell Award, DOWA-IBI Group needed to produce a short film highlighting the design team’s approach to engage community members and multiple stakeholders during the planning process of the new school.

During our initial discussions with the DOWA-IBI Group team, the architects told us that this story needed to capture multiple points of view and be told through multiple voices. The story’s central theme was identified early on, when a student told the architects, during a school planning session, that he wanted to go to a school where he could be the “the captain of my own learning.”

Throughout our work, we returned again and again to the “captain of my own learning” theme. What did it look like to students? Teachers? School administrators? District leaders? How did the architects translate ‘captain of my own learning” into building designs that were at once, functional, educational, and inspiring?

The result is a story that gives viewers a glimpse into the minds and hearts of educational designers and their mission to create learning spaces that transform the way we think about public schools.

Holly PaigeComment