About

Downing Studio

Downing Studio is an energetic and creative team of design professionals that have our clients’ success at the forefront of our relationship. We use the design process to learn about you, your project and your goals.

josh ridgely, aia downing studio
Director of Design

Josh Ridgely, AIA

Architect

Brad Paige, AIA

amanda schneller downing studio
Project Designer + Interiors

Amanda Schneller

cecily kulhavy
Project Designer + Interiors

Cecily Gross, NCIDQ

chris lyon dowing studio
Project Designer

Chris Lyon, CDT

tom berkemann dowing studio
Project Designer

Tom Berkemann

sirina reed dowing studio
Designer

Sirina Reed, Assoc AIA

Design Coordinator

Amie Schurman

Designer

Will Howell

Director of Design

Josh Ridgely, AIA

Josh Ridgely is passionate about architecture and design, and its ability to solve problems and to enrich peoples’ lives. After a long-tenured career providing design solutions alongside Downing Construction, he was offered the opportunity to lead the design department to deliver design-build solutions for one of the best construction companies in the region.

After receiving his Bachelor of Architecture degree from Iowa State University in 2007, he moved to the Des Moines area to begin a career in architecture. Josh has experience in nearly every facet of architectural design including corporate, commercial, dental, healthcare, industrial, multi-family residential, and single-family custom. Josh’s primary role is to ensure that the Downing Studio team is providing the right solutions for every client and delivering excellent design, every time.

Josh lives with his wife and four children in Johnston. He enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, golfing, and on projects around his home and property.

At Downing Since:March 2020

Certifications:NCARB, AIA

Architect

Brad Paige, AIA

Brad graduated with his Associate in Architectural Technologies from DMACC in 2010 where he went on to Iowa State to receive his Bachelors in Architecture in 2015. Since and during that time, he has gained a lot of experience in Residential and Commercial projects. He has always had a strong passion for the field of construction and technology, as well as learning the small intricacies of how buildings come together. Architecture has been such a rewarding career for Brad, and he is always excited to share his knowledge and skill sets with clients to help bring their visions to reality by leveraging the latest software and BIM technologies.

He currently lives in Windsor Heights with his girlfriend Meg and Wheaton Terrier, Bentley. He enjoys playing in volleyball leagues around the Metro, traveling, as well as working on projects around the house.

At Downing Since:September 2022

Certifications:NCARB, AIA

Project Designer + Interiors

Amanda Schneller

With a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from Iowa State University in 2010, Amanda Schneller’s eleven years of professional experience has led her to her current position as an Interior Designer with Downing Studio. Amanda has a diverse portfolio under her belt–from smaller tenant improvement spaces up to large-scale, high-profile projects. Each client has their own unique design challenges, and no two projects ever turn out alike, which is what keeps her career exciting and rewarding.

Striving to make what is often a stressful time for clients into a fun and exciting process, Amanda’s positive, upbeat approach to the design process allows her to connect with each of her clients on a more personal level. She believes this personal connection provides the vision for uniquely tailored design solutions and more successful project outcomes.

Amanda lives with her husband, Will, daughter, Audrey & bernedoodle Olive in Waukee. When she’s not dreaming up spaces, you can find her scoping out new restaurants with her family.

At Downing Since:April 2018

Certifications:Associate IIDA

Project Designer + Interiors

Cecily Gross, NCIDQ

Cecily attended the University of Northern Iowa where she received her bachelor’s degree in interior design. She’s been in the industry for 8 years, coming to Downing with a Healthcare focused background. Cecily has been a part of IIDA (International Interior Design Association) for the duration of her career and enjoys staying on top of the industry’s latest trends. Soon after joining Downing, Cecily obtained her NCIDQ Certification and is a Registered Interior Designer in the state of Iowa. When Cecily isn’t designing (rarely), she’s playing soccer, spending time with family, and traveling whenever possible.

At Downing Since:September 2018

Certifications:NCIDQ, IIDA

Project Designer

Chris Lyon, CDT

Chris started his construction career working with his father, to whom he contributes much of his success in laying the great foundation for his understanding of construction, and to quote his father “the right way to do things”. Later he went to work for a residential framer and then moved on to become a mechanical millwright traveling all over the country. Chris returned to school to get his AAS degree in Architectural Technologies in 2003 and completed CDT certification.

At Downing Construction Inc., Chris has worked on a wide variety of projects in both residential and commercial. Chris has taken the company from the 2D AutoCAD world into the 3D design visualization realm with “BIM” design software. In January 2015, he took his skills to the next level and became an “Autodesk Certified Professional” in Revit Architecture. Chris enjoys getting involved in Philanthropy projects such as Habitat for Humanity and assisting his community.

Chris is a proud father to his amazing son, Ethan; whose extra circular activities have helped Chris get involved in the Indianola community. Over the years Chris has coached his football, little league, and travel baseball teams. Chris also enjoys hunting and has a passion for archery.

At Downing Since:March 2009

Certifications:CDT, Revit Architecture Certified Professional from Autodesk

Project Designer

Tom Berkemann

After working with Downing for several years as an Architectural consultant, Tom made the transition to The Downing Team. Understanding the natural gap of time between an Outside Architectural Firm and a General Contractor, he was excited to join a company that could combine both the Architectural process and the General Contracting process to give our clients not only a better product but a timely product. When a project comes to life and our clients start to see what they were envisioning there is nothing more satisfying when they say “This is exactly how we were envisioning it”.  This is the reason being part of the Downing Team is so fulfilling for Tom.

On the personal side, Tom and his wife reside in the Des Moines area with their two children. With all the kid’s activities, there is never a dull moment in the Berkemann household.

At Downing Since:December 2019

Designer

Sirina Reed, Assoc AIA

Sirina came to Downing shortly after starting her architectural career. She graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Architecture in 2019. Sirina has been around the construction industry her whole life and has always believed it was an important part of the design process. At ISU, Sirina was an active member of DBIA (Design Build Institute of America), where she really confirmed her interest in the design build delivery method and helped her decision to transition to Downing Construction. Sirina is a member of Iowa Women in Architecture and has started the first steps to creating a NOMA (National Organization of Minority Architects) Iowa Chapter. She hopes to push the chapter along to create positive changes in her community.

Sirina is a strong advocate on preparing the future of architecture and design. Sirina is a mentor for ACE Mentor program for high school students as well as volunteering her time to the Iowa State Science Bound scholars. She enjoys working with students, especially those who are underserved so she can help bridge the gap for them to reach their full potential.

Sirina lives in the Des Moines area with her two cats, Mona and Oliver. Sirina spends the rest of her time playing soccer, cooking, baking, and hanging out with her friends and family.

At Downing Since:August 2021

Certifications:Associate AIA

Design Coordinator

Amie Schurman

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in interior design from the University of Northern Iowa, Amie began her career as a residential designer where she spent several years guiding homeowners through the remodeling process. She quickly discovered how design and construction go hand in hand and eagerly accepted the opportunity to join Downing after learning about their unique and proven Design + Build process. Her residential background offers a valuable perspective and she’s happy to support Downing Studio as they continue to deliver excellence.

Amie met her husband during their time together at UNI. They now live in Indianola with their 2 children. She enjoys traveling, bike rides and spending time with family and friends. When the weather is warm, you’ll catch them at the lake swimming, skiing and cooking smores around the fire.

At Downing Since:April 2023

Designer

Will Howell

From an early age, Will had a passion for design and development, often cluttering his elementary school worksheets with various sketches of buildings. Will was exposed to various types of drafting software throughout high school, leading to his first internship at Landmark Development, a high-end residential firm in the Chicago area. In 2017, Will worked on a team to restore the Dorr Felt Estate, a Gilded Age mansion on Lake Michigan’s bluffs, which sparked his interest in ethical architectural repurposing. In 2018, Will was afforded the opportunity to attend Iowa State University, where he promptly enrolled in their NAAB-accredited architecture program.

Throughout Will’s time at Iowa State, he became interested in efficient commercial design. During the summer of 2021, Will interned with Iowa State’s Extension and outreach program. This allowed Will to realize how a community is made up of various perspectives, and how efficient design can positively impact a community at large.

Will came onboard at Downing as a Designer shortly after receiving his Bachelor Of Architecture degree from Iowa State University in May 2023. Here, he continues to strive to improve his skillset and build relationships in the industry.

At Downing Since:June 2023

Our Process

Your time is valuable; we’re efficient. We pride ourselves on delivering high design in tight timeframes. You have a vision; we bring our expertise. Design is a complex process; we make it easy and enjoyable. Your project is your dream, let’s make it awesome together.

Downing Studio