Interfaith Design

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Park Plaza Synagogue in Chicago
Park Plaza Synagogue in Chicago

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Who we are

The AIA Interfaith Design (ID) Knowledge Community encourages and supports excellence in the design of worship spaces and their accoutrements. Interfaith Design is an association of professionals whose primary interest is religious facilities in a broad array of traditions. We value an interfaith forum for the exchange of ideas relating to religion, art, and architecture. Join us!

Edward S. Frey Award

By Brian D. McLaren AIA posted 12-31-2017 12:00 AM


In addition to the Religious Art and Architecture Awards, the Interfaith Design knowledge community sponsors the Elbert M. Conover Memorial Award and the Edward S. Frey Award. The Conover and Frey awards are bestowed upon individuals rather than projects.

The Edward S. Frey Memorial Award was established in 1981 by IFRAA, Inc., which later became a part of the AIA. This award is given to an architect to recognize his or her contributions to religious architecture and support of the allied arts.

Rev. Dr. Frey dedicated his life to his work as the Executive Director of the Commission on Church Architecture for the Lutheran Church of America. In that role he inspired architects to foster spiritual values in design.

Dr. Frey was instrumental in fostering the three organizations that eventually melded together to form Interfaith Design, originally called the Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art and Architecture (IFRAA). He worked tirelessly for a half century writing, lecturing, and mentoring.


The Edward S. Frey Award is open to architect members of the AIA who have demonstrated a passion for and dedication to quality worship and sacred spaces, fostered spiritual values, and promoted a cross-denominational community focused on religious arts and architecture.

For example, these members may have built several well-designed churches, temples, mosques or other structures.

Submission details

Nominations should consist of one letter of nomination from the submitter detailing how the nominee meets each of the three following award criteria:

  • Demonstrate a passion for and dedication to quality worship and sacred spaces
  • Foster spiritual values
  • Promote a cross-denominational community focused on religious arts and architecture.

Optional supporting materials may also be provided. These materials might include a resume, testimonials, imagery, a bibliography, etc. The supporting materials are limited to five letter-sized PDF pages.

Submitter may optionally request letters of support from up to five other people.

Eligible nominees for the Frey Award must be an architect member of the AIA.

Please address letters of nomination to the Frey Award Jury.

The Frey Award is open during the early months of each even-numbered year. There is no entry fee.

Past recipients

2018 Joan M. Soranno, FAIA

2016 Thomas L. Kerns, FAIA

2014 James F. Williamson, FAIA

2012 George Rafferty, FAIA

2010 Dr. Michael J. Crosbie, FAIA

2002 Maurice N. Finegold, FAIA

2000 Edward A. Wave, AIA

1996 Edward Larrabee Barnes, FAIA

1993 Harold H. Fisher, AIA

1988 Nils Schweizer, FAIA

1984 Robert Durham, FAIA

1981 Dr. Edward Anders Sövik, FAIA