Member Spotlight Ardis Hutchins

Type of Membership: Professional


I believe it is important to support the Interior Design profession. The only reason we have title laws and licensing for interior designers, is that we used a collective voice to get the legislation. Prior to legislation, anyone could call themselves an interior designer.

I took the NCIDQ years ago when I was working in Minnesota. IIDA was very strong in the twin cities with lots of CEU and other supporting activities. I was a licensed architect at the time, but felt that Interior Design is a specialized field. I wanted to show that I was not just an architect, that I was knowledgeable in interior design.

  • By law, licensed architects can practice interior design without additional licensing/ testing.
  • In states with title or practice laws, you cannot use the title interior designer without passing the NCIDQ.
  • There is not licensing or title laws for interior architecture. To use the title, Interior Architect, you must be a licensed architect and have taken the NCARB exam.
  • The term Landscape Architect can only be used by people who pass the national test for that profession.

Part of the reason I took the NCIDQ exam was to be able to call myself an Interior Designer. Minnesota had a title law for Interior Designers. For years I called myself and architect and interior designer. In more recent years I started calling myself an Interior Architect. One of the things that is troublesome to me today is that too many people miss use the title, Interior Architect. It is a licensed title. Only a licensed architect can use the title Interior Architect.

Favorite IIDA event:

Interior Perspectives is my favorite and what I consider the most important  WI/IIDA event. My second favorite event is the WI/IIDA Design Awards. My third favorite event is the WI/IIDA Bag Bash.

Interior Perspectives is focused on continuing education. Design Awards is about celebrating our work. The Bag Bash is about supporting  the future of our profession.

I think it is important to document and pass down the history of the WI/IIDA chapter. I was on the founding committees for all three of these popular WI/IIDA events.

We started Interior Perspectives over 20 years ago. I deeply believe that architects and interior designers need to work together. I was the AIA Professional Member that took the proposal to include IIDA participation in the WI/AIA State Convention to the AIA Board. In order for WI/AIA to consider WI/IIDA participation in an event, they needed an active professional member to sponsor the proposal. I am extremely proud, but also sad, that we are one of the few states where AIA and IIDA work together at the state level for continuing education. Our first Interior Perspectives started with one guest speaker and has grown into a full day of CEU offerings.

Our first Interior Design Awards event began with small group of dedicated IIDA members. The event was held for a few years at a noisy local restraint/ bar. Then we moved to the Madison Club, which we eventually out grew.

The Bag Bash started 11 years ago. The first gathering was a volleyball game. The next year we started the Bag Bash.

Favorite thing to do in Madison:

Boating. My husband and I purchased our first boat over 25 years ago and have a slip on Lake Mendota. After a hectic day a work, there is nothing better than to spend an hour on the water.


Reading and Gardening

What gets you excited about architecture and design?:

I’m specialized in Healthcare Design. The evolution of Evidence Based Design is making a positive impact on design decisions to improve healthcare delivery and outcomes. I see research as a key to learn from, improve and support our designs.