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Committee Chaired by Iowa Architect Recognized Nationally

Friday, October 30, 2015  

Des Moines, IA– October 28, 2015 – The Low Vision Design Committee, chaired by AIA Iowa member Edd Soenke, AIA, has been presented a national award in recognition of the Committee’s creation of the Design Guidelines for the Visual Environment.

This committee worked together to develop evidence-based parameters for architecture, interiors, and lighting that would inform design of supportive environments for people with low vision. Now—three years, several thousand redlined and rewritten pages, six editions, two public reviews, and two line-by-line-by-line consensus votes later, the guidelines are available to all.

Though the Guidelines have been published, the Committee is taking the Guidelines to the next step of development into an adoptable standard, as well as presenting their findings to fellow professionals at national and local venues.

It is also recognized that this extraordinary group effort has been supported financially, as well as technically and individually, by caring professionals representing the Jim H. McClung Lighting Research Foundation and the Hulda B. and Maurice L. Rothschild Foundation, whose President Robert N. Maher, PhD, has been an active Committee member since the group’s founding.


Soenke, along with an ophthalmologist from the Mayo Clinic and a renowned lighting designer from Boulder/Denver presented the Guidelines at the AIA Convention in Atlanta last May and the AIA Iowa | Central States Region Convention held in October in Des Moines, IA. Soenke will be presenting the information in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Austin,TX and Washington, DC during 2015 and early 2016.

The award presentation will take place at the Institute’s Annual Banquet on Thursday, January 15, 2015, at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park. The award will be presented during Building Innovation 2016: National Institute of Building Sciences Fourth Annual Conference & Expo.

Since 1857, the American Institute of Architects has represented the professional interests of America’s architects. AIA Iowa, headquartered in Des Moines, is a statewide affiliate of national AIA with nearly 1,000 members. AIA Iowa members are committed to excellence in design and are proactive in the design of livable communities. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct that assures the client, the public and colleagues of an AIA member architect’s dedication to the highest standards of professional practice.


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For pictures or to schedule an interview, please contact Executive Director Jessica Reinert at AIA Iowa at (515) 244-7502, or e-mail her at

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