The immunoglobulin (Ig) superfamily is one of the largest families in the vertebrate genome, found most frequently in cell surface molecules. Intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) contains five extracellular Ig superfamily domains (D1-D5) of which the first domain, D1, is the binding site for the integrin lymphocyte function-associated antigen-1 (LFA-1) and human rhinovirus. Despite the modular nature of many Ig superfamily domains with respect to domain folding and ligand recognition, D1 does not fold on its own due to the loss of its interaction with the second domain. The goal of this study was to engineer ICAM-1 D1 by introducing mutations that would stabilize the Ig superfamily domain fold while retaining its ability to bind to LFA-1 and rhinovirus. First, with a directed evolution approach, we isolated mutations in D1 that showed binding to conformation-specific antibodies and the ligand binding domain of LFA-1 called the inserted, or I, domain. Then, with a rational design approach we introduced mutations that contributed to the stability of ICAM-1 D1 in solution. The mutations that restored native folding of D1 in isolation were those that would convert hydrogen bond networks in buried regions into hydrophobic contacts. Notably, for most mutations, identical or similar types of substitutions were found in ICAM-1 molecules of different species and other ICAM family members. The systematic approach demonstrated in this study to engineer a single Ig superfamily fold in ICAM-1 can be broadly applicable to the engineering of modular Ig superfamily domains in other cell surface molecules.