IA: Committing to the Future of Interior Architecture

KSU’s Seaton Hall/Regnier Hall Renovation and Expansion was dedicated in October 2017

Jeff Miller, IA Managing Principal Emeritus (L), and IA Principal Larry King (R), attend the dedication of the IA Crit Room.



Last year, Kansas State University (KSU) dedicated a new 200,000 square-foot College of Architecture building that incorporates a renovated historic building at either end of the new facility. Over 1,000 dignitaries and guests were in attendance, including architects Jeff Miller, IA Managing Principal Emeritus, and IA Principal Larry King, a university fellow who serves on the KSU Foundation Board as well as the College of Architecture, Planning and Design Advisory Board. The new facility will help the university maintain its top rankings in interior architecture, landscape architecture, and architecture. As alumni, it was important for Miller and King to be there, but an even better reason for their attendance was the dedication of the new facility’s Architecture and Planning Department Crit Room (short for critique, a term frequently used in the profession), to be known going forward as the IA Crit Room. Funded entirely by IA, the room is front and center in the new building’s layout, identified by the compulsory plaque bearing the firm’s name, a reminder for years to come of IA’s commitment to the future of design.

(L) David B. Mourning, AIA, FIIDA, founder of IA Interior Architects. Photo by Anthony Tahlier, courtesy Contract magazine. (R) Mr. Mourning, KSU alumnus, on campus at 2017 sports event.

Also last year, at another university close by and known for its school of architecture, the University of Kansas, alumnus and IA founder David Mourning was honored for his generous donation to establish a department of interior architecture, something the university has never had, a top priority for the man whose firm and efforts literally made interior architecture a stand-alone discipline.


A final student presentation in IA’s Seattle office. Photo by Doug Fairleigh.

IA staff, clients, and colleagues view student work during the Washington State University final student presentations at IA’s office in Seattle. Photo by Doug Fairleigh.

But a commitment to the future of interior architecture is not just for veteran IA architects, it is an ardent passion firm-wide, a desire to shepherd and mentor the development of young visionary architects and designers within our studios and at the campus and organizational level. To that end, through the IIDA Foundation, IA recently established an IIDA scholarship ($50,000) for students, with the goal of increasing the diversity of design in thought and practice. In the fall, IIDA will roll out the program in detail.

Throughout the firm, in every office there are substantive examples of IA’s commitment. For instance, Raleigh Managing Director Leah Barrett mentors at East Carolina University and has lectured at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and Miami Managing Director Marlene Liriano serves on the Interior Architecture Executive Advisory Board at Florida International University. For several years, staff from IA’s Seattle office have co-taught the junior-level corporate studio at Washington State University. At the end of the course, the students make their final presentations in IA’s office, with some students presenting to IA clients and colleagues.

IA Designer Gita Singh (4th from right) with students at San Jose State.


And for the last four years, IA’s Silicon Valley office has participated in the IIDA Valley portfolio review and, again this year, took part in IIDA’s mentoring week. Designer Gita Singh of that office is past president of Student Affairs for IIDA, a student portfolio workshop volunteer, and a guest speaker at San Jose State University. The list goes on with each IA office enthusiastically participating locally and expressing their commitment through action to the future of interior architecture.

Working with our clients to create work environments that will carry them into the future makes us extremely aware of our responsibility to the future of interior architecture,” says Tom Powers, Co President/CEO, IA Interior Architects.

We view space broadly as a place where people are, and a well-designed interior space impacts everyone. It’s fantastic to see the level of importance architecture and design schools are placing on this area of study, and we at IA believe the best way to ensure a bright future is to give back through teaching, mentoring, and investing in the next generation of designers, architects, and creatives, says David Bourke, Co President/CEO.


IA is a global firm of architects, designers, strategists, and specialists. We focus exclusively on environments through the lens of interior architecture—a radical idea in 1984, when IA was founded. We are highly connected agents of change, committed to creativity, innovation, growth, and community.



IA is a global firm of architects, designers, strategists, and specialists. We focus exclusively on environments through the lens of interior architecture—a radical idea in 1984, when IA was founded. We are highly connected agents of change, committed to creativity, innovation, growth, and community.



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