AMES, Iowa — Lynn Paxson, a University Professor of architecture at Iowa State University, received the 2019 Educator Award from the Iowa chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Iowa) Thursday, Sept. 26, at its annual convention in Des Moines.

The award recognizes significant contributions to architectural education in Iowa.

Paxson joined the Iowa State architecture faculty in 1991 after working at firms in New York City, including Gensler and Associates and Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. She moved into a tenure-track assistant professor position in 1997 and was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2003. She became a full professor in 2011 and was named a University Professor in 2016.

Paxson teaches courses on human behavior and environmental theory, urban theory and public space, and the history of Native American/American Indian architecture. Her service-based interdisciplinary design studios have worked with the Meskwaki Settlement in Iowa; the Omaha and Northern Ponca in Nebraska; the Coeur d’Alene Nation in Idaho; the Chickasaw, Arapaho and Southern Cheyenne in Oklahoma; the Navajo Nation in Arizona and New Mexico; and the Acoma, Laguna and Santo Domingo Pueblos in New Mexico. She also serves as a co-adviser to the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students at Iowa State.

“Lynn has been instrumental in diversifying our architecture curriculum by incorporating native culture awareness and issues,” said Ulrike Passe, associate professor of architecture and 2017 AIA Iowa Educator Award recipient, who nominated Paxson for the award. “She has nurtured students’ empathy and enhanced their learning through an integrative, interdisciplinary approach to architecture as a cultural practice to include people and places that are often considered marginal.”

In his letter of support for Paxson’s award nomination, 2019 bachelor of architecture graduate Nicholas Nagawiecki said, “Lynn brought us to people that were working hard to make positive changes to their environment and gave us the tools and resources to honor their intentions. I am using the lessons learned from Lynn’s studio daily in order to give the communities that I work with the tools to make positive change.”

Paxson received the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) Career Award in 2016; Iowa State University Exemplary Faculty Mentoring Award in 2014; Vernon Stone Faculty Support Award from the ISU Department of Architecture in 2012; ISU College of Design Faculty Award for Extraordinary Performance in 2005; ISU College of Design Academic Advising Award in 1999; and ISU College of Design Raymond G. and Lula G. Polster Teaching Award in 1996.

Paxson holds a bachelor of arts in psychology and bachelor of environmental design from the University of Colorado; and a master of arts in psychology, master of philosophy in environmental psychology and PhD in environmental psychology, all from the City University of New York. She received SEED (Social Economic Environmental Design) certification in 2015.

She is a member of EDRA, the International Association of People-Environment Studies, the American Indian Council of Architects and Engineers and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, and an associate member of the American Institute of Architects, the National Indian Education Association and the National Organization of Minority Architects. She is a Sequoyah Fellow of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society.


Lynn Paxson, Architecture, (515) 294-4026, lpaxson@iastate.edu
Hailey Allen, Design Communications, hallen15@iastate.edu
Heather Sauer, Design Communications, (515) 294-9289, hsauer@iastate.edu