Thomas Kerns, FAIA, Wins 2016 AIA IFRAA Frey Award

Thomas L. Kerns, FAIA (BARCH ’66) has received the 2016 AIA IFRAA Edward S. Frey Award for his commitment to religious architecture and strong design talent across interfaith projects. Kerns was recognized for putting “the needs of his clients above his own design ideologies without compromising his strong architectural, artistic and spiritual convictions.” Throughout the course of his professional practice he has listened intently to congregational leaders and committees in order to translate “their programmatic needs into outstanding environments for worship.”

Kerns received the Frey Award at the AIA Convention in Philadelphia where he accepted the award on behalf of his colleagues at Kerns Group Architects and the clients who have made this body of work possible. Since founding Kerns Group Architects in 1974, Kerns has guided the firm in completing several hundred religious projects. He was elevated to the AIA College of Fellows in 1989 and, in 2007, received the Noland Medal, the highest award given to an individual architect in Virginia. His firm has received over 60 AIA design awards and several IFRAA awards. In 2001, the firm received the Virginia AIA David Fitz-Gibbon Firm Award for consistently producing distinguished architecture.

Kerns strives for excellence within a collaborative group atmosphere and is attentive to his clients’ needs, desires, and limitations. His designs exceed his clients’ goals with thoughtful spirituality and inspirational beauty. By sincerely taking the time to understand each unique community of faith. Kerns has shepherded clients from different religious traditions through new construction, major renovations and additions. He is quite active in his own church, Immanuel Church–on-the-Hill, in Alexandria, Virginia, and enjoys capturing the essence of significant churches in plein-air watercolors.

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. Eligible nominees for the Edward S. Frey Award must be an architect member of the AIA; demonstrate a passion for and dedication to quality worship and sacred spaces; foster spiritual values, and; promote a cross-denominational community focused on religious arts and architecture.