Encore Performance for Iowa Architectural Foundation

30th-Anniversary Gala celebrates architecture in the community.

The Iowa Architectural Foundation (IAF), founded in 1989, has been celebrating the artistry of beautifully constructed buildings for three decades. But the nonprofit, staffed almost entirely by volunteers, does more than recognize beautiful work. The heart of its mission is to “inspire people to become thoughtful and engaged stewards of their communities and to work to improve the places where they live, learn, work, and play.”

This month the IAF hosts Encore IAF30 Gala, its largest fund-raising event to date. “We’ve held fund-raising events before, but this is the first gala of this scope,” says Executive Director Claudia Cackler.

The 2019 Gala will be held at the World Food Prize building in Des Moines. “This is the tenth year since its restoration, and it’s a wonderful showcase project,” Cackler says.

She says the hope is that similar events can be held in communities around Iowa in the future in order to celebrate exciting projects across the state and to recognize the work of architecture and construction teams outside the metro area. “We offer educational opportunities all over the state, and we would love to have the Gala held in different parts of the state as well when we have projects to celebrate and a confluence of the population to support the event.”The Gala is much more than a celebration, she explains. It’s one of the primary fund-raisers for the IAF, providing the resources needed for the various educational activities offered throughout the year (see “IAF Educational Activities”).

“Our walking tours are very popular, and we also organize special events, like the motor coach tour of Dubuque we have coming up in November. And our children’s programs include school tours, special speakers for classrooms, and our summer Adventures in Architecture camp,” she says.

These educational activities don’t focus exclusively on historic restoration, although those projects are always highlighted. The IAF also educates communities on the role of architecture today in both commercial and residential projects.

“The IAF was started by a group of architects 30 years ago to be the public face of architecture for the community” Cackler says. “All our guides and educators are volunteers who seek to inspire, create, and educate on the value of architecture and design.”

Past activities have included classes on Mexican architecture and architectural photography; Eat.Drink.Architecture. events in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids; children’s workshops, including Designing a Pet Paradise; and youth art contests. In addition, the IAF’s Community Design Program (CDP) provides conceptual solutions to design-related problems for Iowa communities.

“Community needs may range from redesigning a town square to a total image change,” Cackler explains. “Our CDP assists towns around the state by bringing civic groups, elected officials, and concerned citizens together with design professionals to visualize solutions for their design issues.”

This connection between design professionals and communities is representative of IAF’s mission. It’s also a quality the group likes to recognize in those outside the architectural community.

As part of the 30th-anniversary celebration this year, the IAF will honor several individuals and organizations outside the architectural profession “who have had a significant and positive impact on the quality of life in Iowa through their support of architecture and/or urban design.”

The 2019 recipients include the Ruan family, the University of Iowa, and the Greater Des Moines Partnership and City of Des Moines. On hand to receive the awards will be members of the Ruan family, a representative for the U of I, Gene Meyer of the Greater Des Moines Partnership, and Des Moines mayor Frank Cownie.

IAF Activities

Encore: IAF30 Gala

  • June 15, 2019
  • Iowa Food Prize Hall of Laureates, Des Moines
  • VIP Experience 6 p.m.
  • Cocktails 7 p.m.
  • Dinner 8 p.m.
  • Awards Program 8:30 p.m.
  • Dancing & Social 9–11 p.m.
  • Catering by Embassy Club
  • Music by Tony Bohnenkamp

Tickets for the event are still available, as are sponsorship opportunities. To reserve, visit Eventbrite or contact Claudia Cackler for more information at director@iowaarchfoundation.org.

IAF Educational Activities

  • Architectural Classes
  • Walking Tours and Motor Coach Outings
  • Architecture in the Schools
  • Community Design Program
  • Special Events

Learn more about the activities