The AIA Minnesota Gold Medal Award is one of the highest honors bestowed by the association, recognizing individuals whose work has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture in Minnesota, and significant, positive impact on the Minnesota architecture community and culture.

The 2018 Gold Medal call for entries is closed. The program will next open in 2020.

2016 Gold Medal - Robert C. Mack, FAIA

Robert C. Mack, FAIA, principal at MacDonald & Mack Architects, is the AIA Minnesota 2016 Gold Medal recipient. Bob's career began at the National Park Service in Washington, DC before moving back to Minnesota in 1976 when he founded MacDonald & Mack Architects with Stuart MacDonald, AIA.  

AIA Minnesota President Michelle Mongeon Allen, AIA said, "Bob Mack is one of the founders of the historic preservation movement in Minnesota. He is why many of Minnesota's most iconic landmarks not only remain standing today, but remain vital, relevant spaces for the future."

Download the press release.


The AIA Minnesota Gold Medal Award is open to a single individual or two individuals (living or deceased, not necessarily American or licensed architects), who have created a body of distinguished architectural work.

Nominations made by an AIA Minnesota member will be accepted for review by the Gold Medal Award Selection Committee. Nominators may not be a principal and/or employee of the candidate or the candidate’s firm.

The AIA Minnesota Gold Medal Award nomination and selection process takes place every two years, although there is no obligation for the Gold Medal Award Selection Committee to make the award in any given year.

Selection Criteria

The Gold Medal Award Selection Committee evaluates candidates based on how well they meet program criteria, which include how their contributions have:

  • demonstrated great depth and breadth, having a cumulative effect on the profession of architecture in Minnesota;
  • addressed the future of architecture while honoring its tradition;
  • transcended or united specific areas of expertise; and
  • become widely known—by architects, designers, educators, and the public—for the quality of their work.

Additional selection considerations
Throughout the submission, where applicable and to the extent possible, nominators are encouraged to highlight any aspect of work or life experience that may have reflected contributions or sensitivity concerning areas of special interest to AIA Minnesota, its members, and the architecture profession in Minnesota, including but not limited to the policy and position statements of AIA Minnesota. These might include such areas as diversity, sustainability, architectural education, or the mentoring of emerging professionals, to the degree the entrant has had the opportunity to address them, or as these topics may enhance the presentation.

All AIA Minnesota award programs will now require a declaration that candidates for awards are in compliance with the AIA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. Nominators will need to certify that candidates comply to the best of their knowledge. This is part of our commitment to ensuring that recipients of AIA Minnesota awards comport to the highest standards of character and professionalism, and is in compliance with requirements for AIA national awards.


Gold Medal Award Selection Committee
The composition of the Gold Medal Award Selection Committee is as follows:

  • Two AIA Minnesota board members – one of which will be the AIA Minnesota President (or in their place, the AIA Minnesota President-Elect), who will serve as Chair of the Committee.
  • Two AIA Fellows
  • One AIA Minnesota Gold Medal Award recipient
  • One AIA Minnesota Committee on Design chair/co-chair.

2018 AIA Minnesota Gold Medal Award Selection Committee

Nathan Johnson, AIA, NOMA (Committee Chair)
Karen Lu, AIA
Eric West, AIA
Sarah Nettleton, FAIA
Julia Robinson, FAIA
Bob Mack, FAIA

The Gold Medal Award Selection Committee is convened prior to the call for nominations. Committee members are ineligible to submit nominations during their time of service on the Committee.

Communication with the Gold Medal Award Selection Committee in any given year regarding any aspect of the nomination or selection process – from the time the Selection Committee is convened to the completion of the selection process – by the nominator, nominee(s), or anyone acting on their behalf is inappropriate and cause for disqualification.

Nomination Submission Requirements
There is no entry fee for this award program. All supporting documentation must be submitted in a single PDF file – not to exceed 10MB and not to exceed sixteen (16) pages, as outlined below:

  • A nomination letter addressed to the Committee Chair, summarizing the contributions of the candidate(s), not to exceed one page;
  • A brief biography of the candidate(s), not to exceed two pages;
  • A statement or list of the achievements of the candidate(s), not to exceed two pages;
  • Descriptive statements and/or images related to the body of work created by the candidate(s), not to exceed four pages; and
  • Three letters of support, addressed to the Committee Chair, not to exceed one page each.
  • A fourth letter of recommendation from a mentee of the candidate to reinforce the character requirements we expect in a Gold Medal recipient.
  • Optional: Miscellaneous material, including clippings, articles, etc., not to exceed three pages.

To the extent practicable, nominators are encouraged to gather and submit materials for the nomination submission without the knowledge of the nominated candidate(s), as the disclosure of the Gold Medal Award winner has traditionally been a surprise to the nominee/selected candidate and the desire is to continue this tradition.

Confirmation of Selection
The Gold Medal Award Selection Committee will present it’s recommended selection for the Award to the AIA Minnesota Board of Directors. In order for that selection to be confirmed, it must be approved by at least a ¾ vote of the Board.


If you have any questions or concerns related to the AIA Minnesota Gold Medal Award process, please contact Mary-Margaret Zindren, Executive Vice President, at, or Sheri Hansen, Director of Communications, Advocacy and Public Outreach, at, or 612-338-6763.

AIA Minnesota Gold Medal Recipients

1979 Ralph Rapson, FAIA
1981 Thomas Ellerbe, FAIA
1982 Edward Sovik, FAIA
1983 Robert Cerny, FAIA
1986 Leonard Parker, FAIA
1987 Richard Hammel, FAIA
1991 James Stageberg, FAIA
1993 George Rafferty, FAIA
1995 Curtis H. Green, FAIA
1996 Frederick Bentz, FAIA
1998 Bruce Abrahamson, FAIA
2000 John Rauma, FAIA
2002 Elizabeth Close, FAIA
2004 Victor C. Gilbertson, FAIA
2006 Milo Thompson, FAIA
2008 David Salmela, FAIA  
2010 Edward J. Kodet, Jr. FAIA
2012 Craig Rafferty, FAIA
2014 Julie Snow, FAIA
2016 Robert C. Mack, FAIA