Niitsitapi Early Learning Center


The aim of the Niitsitapi Early Learning Center is to provide an innovative and indigenous-centric approach to learning. Early research uncovered a document entitled, ‘Key Attributes of Aboriginal Learning’ which identified differences in Indigenous learning, and the attributes became the aspiration for innovation in design: holistic, lifelong, intergenerational, experiential, rooted in language and culture, spiritually oriented, a communal activity, and an integration of Indigenous and Western knowledge. Eleven distinct tribal groups are represented as well as honoring the territorial ancestors (Blackfoot), the Inuit and Metis peoples.
Stage of Completion
Built (2017)
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
49,904 ft2 | 4,637 m2
Alberta Infrastructure & Calgary Board of Education
Architect of Record
BeckVale Architects
Design Architect
Tawaw Architecture Collective

Honorary Fellow

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada is proud to announce that Wanda Dalla Costa, a prominent Indigenous voice and practitioner in North American architecture, has been awarded honorary fellowship for 2022. Wanda Dalla Costa is a member of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation and was the first First Nation woman to become an architect in Canada. Her firm, Tawaw Architecture Collective, is based in Phoenix, Arizona. She is the director and founder of Arizona State University’s Indigenous Design Collaborative, a community-driven design and construction program that brings together tribal community members, industry and multidisciplinary teams of university students and faculty to co-design and co-develop solutions for tribal communities. Dalla Costa is a prominent Indigenous female voice within the architectural profession–specifically within the academic sphere in North America.

YBCA's 100 Honorees: Wanda Dalla Costa

Indigenous Design Collaborative's founder and design director Wanda Dalla Costa was recognized as YBCA 100 list of change makers and cultural activists working at the intersection of art, social change and civic life.

Trailblazer Award: Wanda Dalla Costa

Presented this year as part of NZ20, the world's largest net zero conference and expo, the Trailblazer Awards celebrate leaders who are building a net zero future through their work in the carbon, energy, water, waste, transit and/or policy sectors.

St. Lawrence Center Competition Award 2023


Jeff Harnar Award
Unbuilt Architecture 2021