2019 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.

Expanding on the idea of practice through thoughtful integration of architecture, art, and public space, Jessica Terrill, AIA, pushes the boundaries of creative placemaking to build community. Her fresh editorial voice has long guided Iowa Architect, evolving the magazine into a must-read publication with its critical coverage of the projects and issues that define the profession in the Midwest.

Terrill practices architecture with Des Moines’ Substance Architecture, where her work ranges from high-end residences to public infrastructure projects. Her design for the Multimodal Transportation Center at the University of Northern Iowa was recognized with awards at the state and regional levels. The project balanced the programmatic demands of a facility on a state university campus with an innovative approach to energy usage.

She regularly promotes the integration of art and architecture, and collaborates with artists, community leaders, and nonprofits to facilitate the installation of works by internationally recognized artists in public spaces. Terrill worked with the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation and celebrated ceramic artist Jun Kaneko to install two of his works, Dangos and Expansion, to create a highly accessible nexus of art, architecture, and landscape along the Des Moines River. For a project on behalf a private law firm, she engaged Iowa artist Pete Gocé to install his sinuous sculpture Water Hutch, which evokes the waterways that mark the Midwestern landscape, in the firm’s lobby. More than just a decorative and functional element, the sculpture lives in harmony with the material and spatial expression of the space.

Outside of her firm, Terrill advocates for public art through volunteer work with Project Spaces, a Greater Des Moines Art Foundation project that broadens awareness of art through temporary work. In her role as a jury member, she helps transform Des Moines Area Regional Transit buses into mobile canvases that display the work of local artists and elevate the everyday experience of commuting.

Since 2008, Terrill has evolved the editorial direction of Iowa Architect, the official publication of AIA Iowa. Beginning as an editorial board member and later its associate editor, her quiet but regular contributions to the region’s architectural discourse have been represented in the publication’s pages. In 2015 she was elected to serve as the magazine’s editor-in-chief, the first woman to hold the position, and she continues to contribute as editor ex-officio.

Her commitment to, and passion for, art and artists are valuable assets to the profession, and Terrill’s dedication to her creative vision motivates everyone with whom she works. Through her leadership, she has married public art with community engagement, elevating both to a rarely seen level.


Raymond "Skipper" Post, FAIA (Chair), Post Architects, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

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

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

John Castellana, FAIA, TMP Architecture, Inc., Bloomfield Hill, Michigan

Roger Schluntz, FAIA, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque

Lora Teagarden, AIA, RATIO Architects, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana

Image credits

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