From Inception to Installation: Part 1: The Design and Planning Process

The Proposal

In early 2023 Mike Lipke, the president of Trillium Pacific Millwork, was contacted by Oregon State University to discuss the idea of having wood wall panels installed in a new OSU classroom. Having already worked with the college to create many of the facades incorporated into the new architecture at the College of Forestry, they were now being asked to create something truly special for the Starker Forests classroom.

TorZo, a subsidiary of TPM, is known for its unique ability to produce beautifully crafted wood surfaces using sustainable and recycled materials. Starker Forests, Inc is known for its excellence in forest management, education, and stewardship and donated the funds necessary to erect the new Peavy Hall building. And OSU is known for its renowned College of Forestry and dedication to research and policy for managing and sustaining working forest ecosystems. Naturally, the partnership of the three Oregon establishments was a perfect fit.

The Partnership

TPM was an excellent choice for the job as they share a similar passion for the importance of wood and responsible forestry. The project called for sustainable wood panels that reference the meaningful research being done on the campus, specifically in the Starker Forests and the classroom of the same name, where the panels were to be installed. TPM had both the ability and perfect team to get the job done.

Eager to work with each other, it was a fast and easy agreement to get the project rolling. Initially, the design called for two 20′ wide wall panels to be installed on the back wall of the classroom. Creating unique wood surfaces is where Trillium Pacific Millwork shines, so the project was well within their skill set and all involved were excited to get the project started.

The Modifications

With the project green-lit, the teams got to work discussing and fine-tuning the details. One such detail was incorporating variable-thickness to wood strips to enhance the artistic character. And another was to cut out the outline of Mary’s Peak and other parts of the coast range along the top edge of the panels, further connecting the project to the Oregon landscape it referenced.  A great idea quickly became truly fantastic one. 

To add an additional layer of meaning, it was suggested we attach the various wood species in proportion to the percentage of each species in the Starker Forest. This took some extra due diligence and research, but was the final detail needed to have the perfect plan in place. The designing and panning was complete and ready to move along to the production process. Next up: sourcing and preparing the materials.