BLOG: My Clients Win Awards

Just found out one of my clients, Mahlum Architects, has won six design awards for their Springfield Elementary Schools project that I photographed for them this summer. The awards are…

  • AIA Southwest OR Chapter Peoples Choice Award
  • AIA Southwest OR Chapter Peoples Colleague Choice Award
  • AIA Southwest OR Chapter Honor Design Award
  • AIA Portland Chapter Merit Design Award
  • IIDA Portland Chapter Honor Award
  • IIDA Portland Chapter Juror Top Award

And here are the shots that helped win all those awards.








Mahlum’s press release below:



Mahlum, in association with Robertson/Sherwood/ Architects, has won three awards from the Southwestern and Southern Oregon chapters of the American Institute of Architects for the design of two eco-friendly elementary schools in Springfield, Ore.  The design also received a Merit Award from the Portland Chapter of the AIA.

In  bestowing  the 2009 AIA Certificate of Honor award for design of Thurston Elementary and Maple Elementary schools, the jury panel paid tribute to the contrast between “elegant refined wood detailing” in the public spaces and the large-scale exposed tilt-up concrete panels in the classroom wings.  It also applauded the integration of sustainable features, responsiveness to the scale of the students themselves, and the use of wood-framed glass walls that allow the outdoor learning gardens to flow into the building.

In addition to the top Certificate of Honor, the schools received two other awards from the AIA SWO  chapter – the People’s Choice Award voted on by several hundred visitors at a display during  the Eugene Celebration in September and the Colleagues Choice Award voted on by chapter members.   It is unusual for any project to receive all three awards from one chapter. The Honor Award is given, on average, every three years – it was last presented in 2005.

Targeted for the equivalency of a LEED Silver rating, both schools make use of natural day lighting, passive solar heat, displacement ventilation that allows classrooms individual access to outside air, and bioswales and landscaping that control storm water runoff.

The design team relied on a “kit of parts” approach that uses elements that can easily arranged to fit the topography of the sites.  Construction started on both schools in May 2008 and was completed in September 2009.

The schools have sloped elevations that parallel the surrounding hills and are divided into five distinct parts – three solid elements that respond to the scale of the hills and two transparent public zones enclosed by wood-framed glass walls that connect the entry, library and commons to the courtyards.

Thurston is sited in the middle of a long narrow site that slopes up to provide a natural amphitheater at the entry.  Maple is sited to create a community park around a grove of existing trees.

The Mahlum team responsible for the project included Diane Shiner, AIA, principal; Rene Berndt, AIA, project designer, and Amy Noe, IIDA, interior designer.  The local architectural team from Robertson/Sherwood included Jim Robertson, AIA, and Dave Guadagni, AIA.  The contractor was John Hyland Construction, of Eugene.

Springfield Public Schools, with 11,000 students, is located in Oregon’s Willamette Valley within the City of Springfield.  Thurston and Maple are two of 16 elementary schools in the district.  Funding for the two replacement schools was made possible by a November 2006 bond measure.

Founded in 1938, Mahlum is an architectural  firm of 100 people with offices in Seattle and Portland.  The firm is committed to creating enduring

architecture that enriches the human experience.



Bill Strong
Mahlum Architects


Monty Dennison
Dennison Communications