2017 Young Architects Award Recipient

Emerging talent deserves recognition. The AIA Young Architects Award honors individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and made significant contributions to the architecture profession early in their careers.

Through a wealth of historic preservation efforts and work for corporate clients, Danielle Hermann, AIA, has helped reshape Des Moines, Iowa, transforming it into a city recognized by the creative class for its livability and burgeoning cool factor. A thoughtful and collaborative leader, Hermann has assumed a number of leadership roles, both in her firm and in the AIA, where she has helped propel the efforts for diversity in architecture.

Currently an associate principal at Des Moines’ OPN Architects, Hermann has overseen nearly $550 million in work spread across 1.5 million square feet of new and renovated space in the city’s urban core. As a testament to her design and management capabilities, Hermann is now working collaboratively with the Renzo Piano Building Workshop on a new headquarters for Krause Holdings and its family of companies. The new building, which will be completed in 2018 and is expected to achieve LEED Silver certification, will complete the city’s Western Gateway and activate the final open site adjacent to the 4.4-acre John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park.

While diminutive in scale compared to her corporate projects, Hermann’s work with Des Moines’ historic structures is equally impressive. Her restoration of the Hoyt Sherman Place Theater was recognized at the state level, and her keen sensitivity and skills are laid bare in the enduring beauty of Salisbury House, a 42-room estate surrounded by nine acres of gardens and woodlands.  

Driven to lead by example, Hermann staunchly advocates for design excellence in the next generation of architects. To that end she teaches undergraduate courses regularly at Iowa State University and serves as a guest lecturer and studio critic. Additionally Hermann founded the Track1 Architectural Mentorship Program, which formed a coalition of other mentorship programs—including ACE, AIAS, and NOMAS—with representatives of the university’s College of Design to promote networking and licensure in Iowa.

Hermann’s sustained involvement in the AIA began with her acceptance to Iowa State University’s architecture program in 2001. Resolute in her efforts to increase diversity in the profession, she transformed the AIA Iowa Chapter Diversity Committee from a task force into a full committee. Riding that momentum, Hermann and a group of her peers established Iowa Women in Architecture in 2011 as a nonprofit organization tasked with empowering women in design. As a member of the Chapter’s editorial board, she has been a contributing editor and associate editor for Iowa Architect Magazine. She also helped lead the magazine through a redesign and provided steady guidance as it underwent three changes in publishers.

Always willing to listen, offer a critical thought, and then dig in to find a compelling solution, Hermann is a tireless champion for the design community. Never passive and always passionate, she has advanced the profession in multiple contexts.


John Sorrenti, FAIA, (Chair), JRS Architect, PC, Mineola, New York

Josh Flowers, AIA, Hnedak Bobo Group, Memphis, Tennessee

Peter Kuttner, FAIA, Cambridge Seven Associates, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts

Lenore M. Lucey, FAIA, LML Consulting, Washington, DC

Raymond 'Skipper' Post, FAIA, Post Architects, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Edward Vance, FAIA, EV&A Architects, Inc., Las Vegas, Nevada

Image credits

Danielle C. Hermann, AIA

Danielle C. Hermann, AIA


Renzo Piano Building Workshop in Collaboration with OPN Architects


Christopher Gannon/The Register