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MIAD alumni, students win Interior Architecture and Design awards

A rendering of a clean living room with hardwood floors and a white couch.

Megan Ramirez, Marine Terminal Lofts residential studio, 2022.

During the Wisconsin Design Excellence Awards Gala in May, hosted by the American Society of Interior Designers, alumni and students from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) swept a plethora of awards in various categories. Four current MIAD students each won awards in the Residential Design category, while four MIAD alumni won a total of seven awards.

The current Interior Architecture and Design students won the entire range of awards from Bronze to Platinum in Student Residential Design. Emilie Heried ’24 won bronze, Lauren Walder (Concordia University Wisconsin) won silver, Megan Ramirez ’25 won gold and Alexa Ignoffo ’24 won platinum. Walder is studying concurrently at both MIAD and Concordia University Wisconsin as part of Concordia’s cross-registration program.

Megan Ramirez, who submitted a design from a Residential Studio project that she completed for a class in fall 2022, said that receiving the gold award “was a huge honor.” Her project looked at an apartment in the Marine Terminal Lofts located across the street from MIAD. Working with MIAD Interior Architecture and Design alumni acting as mock “clients,” she redesigned the apartment to reflect their desires and lifestyles. “I wanted to create a space for my client that was functional and comfortable for hosting family and friends, but also cozy and peaceful for daily living,” explains Ramirez. “My focus was on natural materials like wood and stone, calming colors and comfortable materials to create a space that felt like home within the Third Ward context.”

Not only do Interior Architecture and Design alumni support current student projects, they also form a skilled network of interior architects and designers in the Milwaukee area. MacKenzie Pankey ’18 won awards in four categories as part of the team at Amy Carman Design, earning distinction for rooftop bars, candy shop design, a Parisian-inspired kitchen remodel and an entirely reworked condo. Amanda Raabe ’06 was recognized as part of RINKA’s winning Johnson Financial Group Milwaukee Office redesign. As part of the team at GROTH Design Group, Jessica Boyung ’15 was awarded for her work on the new Rogers Behavioral Health Ladish Co. Foundation Center. Bryanna Pishion ’17, who works with Plunkett Raysich Architects, was recognized for the new Westside Elementary School project.

Strong instruction offering real-life experience is central to MIAD’s Interior Architecture and Design curriculum. In her class, Ramirez appreciated instructors who “emphasized the fact that even without any formal training, every student already knew a lot about design from our own personal experiences.” Ramirez also explains how MIAD’s classes in her sophomore year coincided to cement her award-winning design project. “Our three IAD classes (Studio, CAD 1, Materials and Specifications) merged at the end of the semester, which allowed us to use all of our skills to make our apartment designs and presentations the best they could be,” she says.

Learn more about the ASID Award Winners and check out MIAD’s Interior Architecture and Design major!


GDUSA selects MIAD Students to Watch 2024

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MIAD students receive 2023 Graphic Design Awards from GDUSA

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IAD seniors tour construction site of The Couture

Interior Architecture and Design (IAD) seniors from MIAD were taken to new heights on November 13 when they toured the construction site of The Couture, a 44-story skyscraper under construction that will be Milwaukee’s tallest residential and mixed-use building. The tour was part of a series of tours their senior thesis “Building Systems” class is taking with instructor Dan Kalkman, AIA.


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