2021 Awards for School Design Announced

  • Date Posted
    October 7, 2021
  • Category
Architects and school administrators met on September 17 to judge the 2021 Exhibition of Educational Environments competition sponsored by the IASB Service Associates.
Awards recognize outstanding examples of school design and planning. Criteria considered for each project include challenges met, design, safety, and how well each facility meets the learning needs of students. To be eligible, the construction had to be completed in time for occupancy with the start of the 2021-2022 school year.
Service Associate member and jury moderator Glen Eriksson of Eriksson Engineering Associates Ltd. noted that the submissions represented the diversity of school district projects from around the state.
This year, two firms were selected to receive the Award of Distinction: Perkins and Will for work at Lisle Elementary School in Lisle CUSD 202, and BLDD Architects for an addition and renovation project at the high school for Tri-Valley CUSD 3 in Downs.
Brad Polanin, Riverton CUSD 14 superintendent, mentioned open learning spaces as a trending theme in this year’s submissions, noting the importance of being able to adapt for the future and giving plenty of space for changes down the road.
In addition to the Award of Distinction, three projects were selected for the Award of Merit, and four earned an Honorable Mention. The full list of results can be found below.

Projects were submitted by design firms with permission from their school district clients. Entries in this year’s competition were invited to display at the Joint Annual Conference November 19-21 in the Grand Hallway, East Tower of the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

Judges shared their thoughts on the competition and what stood out to them. The interview can be viewed here:


Award of Distinction

Lisle Elementary School, Lisle CUSD 202
Perkins and Will
Tri-Valley High School addition and renovation, Tri-Valley CUSD 3 (Downs)
BLDD Architects

Award of Merit

Jefferson Early Childhood Center, Wheaton Warrenville CUSD 200
Legat Architects
McHenry High School West Campus, McHenry CHSD 156
Wold Architects and Engineers
New Early Learning Center, East Maine SD 63
DLA Architects, Ltd.

Honorable Mention

Clara Peterson Elementary School addition and renovation, Paxton-Buckley-Loda CUSD 10
DLR Group
Grass Lake School addition and renovation, Grass Lake SD 36 (Antioch)
STR Partners LLC
Northwood Middle School, North Shore SD 112
Wight and Company
Thomas J. Waters Elementary School, north annex, Chicago Public Schools
Bailey Edward Design