Danielle Hermann honored with national AIA Young Architect Award

Danielle Hermann, an Associate Principal at OPN Architects, has been honored by the national American Institute of Architects (AIA) with one of the 2017 Young Architect Awards. The honor recognizes her exceptional leadership and significant contributions to the profession as a young leader in the industry. Hermann  will be presented with her award at the 2017 AIA Conference on Architecture in Orlando, Fla., on April 29.

She was also honored by AIA Iowa as this year’s Young Architect at the state convention on Sept. 22.

As a role model and mentor, Danielle Hermann is committed to elevating design and practice through leadership in all contexts, service to her profession and community, and commitment to advancing future generations of diverse practitioners. Danielle has established herself as a leader in the firm and within the field.

In the last five years, Danielle has led design work for some of the most influential corporations in Des Moines, reshaping Des Moines’ downtown urban core for nearly 6,500 workers by overseeing nearly $550 million worth of work and 1.5 million square feet of renovated or newly constructed office and public space. She worked with Principal to re-imagine its downtown global headquarters and transform the way the company works, including consolidating all Des Moines employees on a single campus. She is currently leading work in collaboration with Renzo Piano Building Workshop for Krause Holdings and its family of companies to move its headquarters from suburban West Des Moines to the heart of downtown. The new headquarters building will complete the Western Gateway and activate the last open site adjacent to the Pappajohn Sculpture Park. The building is on track to receive LEED Silver certification.

While smaller in scale, her work with historic structures in Des Moines is equally impressive. From her work on the state and regional award-winning restoration of Hoyt Sherman Place Theater, to her enduring leadership throughout the restoration of the Salisbury House, she has demonstrated knowledge, skill, and a keen sensitivity to prominent historic structures. This same enthusiasm and rigor was applied to her extensive work at Terrace Hill, the Iowa Governor’s Mansion, and helped spark the renaissance of the historic East Village neighborhood through her publicized work on the 500 block of East Grand Avenue.

“Throughout her career Danielle has possessed the focus and thought necessary to move an idea forward, to completion, and routinely in a remarkable way,” says OPN Principal Rick Seely. “This insight and the leadership that she has given too many of our most complex projects have resulted in some of Des Moines best new design now under construction”

An advocate for diversity in the industry. She is a founder and charter member of Iowa Women in Architecture (iaWia), a non-profit education organization to sup-port and promote women involved in the design and construction of the built environment. Danielle is also the founder of AIA Iowa’s Diversity Committee which explores relevant issues within the architectural community and assists in the development of programs and initiatives that foster and sustain cultural breadth and inclusion. She is a second vice president for the Iowa chapter of the American Institute of Architects and serves on the “I Have a Dream” Foundation Board.

“It’s one thing to research and promote [diversity]. It’s another thing to enact it in your own life,” said fellow founding iaWia member Ann Sobiech Munson. “That Danielle has joined the ownership team is significant for her personally, as well as a testament to her hard work. But it’s also great for the profession. Think of the people who have worked at OPN, do work at OPN, might work at OPN. They can now see her in that position and imagine that it’s possible for them to reach that career milestone. They might not have thought that before.”

She has been recognized for her commitment to the industry both by her peers with a Design Achievement Award from Iowa State University’s Alumni Association and the College of Design in 2013 and her community. Danielle was named one of the Des Moines Business Record’s 40 Under 40 in 2012 and received Excellence in Historic Preservation Awards from the City of Des Moines in 2007 and 2011. In addition to her work at OPN, she has held the position of Lecturer at Iowa State University, teaching third-year architecture students. She received both her Bachelors of Architecture in 2001, and Masters of Architecture in 2008, from Iowa State University.

Danielle, who is originally from West Union, and her husband, Dr. Joseph R. Hermann (’99 animal science, MS ’02 animal nutrition, PhD ’08 vet microbiology), have two daughters: Lily and Claire.

She is the second leader at OPN to be recognized at the national level with a Young Architect Award. Katie Harms earned the same honor in 2012.