Unique in their approach to creating a jury, these awards encompass the views of business professionals, real estate developers, community advocates, and academic leaders in addition to architects. The Merit Awards were established to recognize projects by AIA Minneapolis architects that:
- Tell the story of Excellence beyond design
- Emphasize Public Interest Design
- Embrace the varied forces that shape a building
The Michael L. Schrock, AIA distinction to the Merit Award was created in 2008, in honor of Michael, who’s passion helped develop the AIA Minneapolis Awards. This distinction is awarded to the project that most embodies the philosophy of the AIA Minneapolis Merit Awards.
Busch Architects, Inc.’s Cedar Riverside Opportunity Center provides critical social and economic support to the Cedar Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis.
Ryan A+E, Inc.’s Downtown East Urban Master Plan, a five-block redevelopment project that is reshaping the Minneapolis urban landscape by bridging the central downtown area to the new U.S. Bank Stadium, the University of Minnesota, the Mill District and the Elliot Park neighborhood.
UrbanWorks Architecture’s Guild Crisis and Recovery Center is the first mental health intensive residential treatment and crisis stabilization services facility in the Southwest Metro, located in Savage.
Perkins&Will’s Mankato Clinical Sciences Building at Minnesota State University is the new collaborative health hub that fosters interdisciplinary collaboration and enables student engagement with state of the art academic and clinical experiences.
Miller Dunwiddie’s Silver Ramp is a mixed-use, multimodal transportation hub located in the heart of the MSP Airport’s Terminal 1 campus.
LEO A DALY’s Second Harvest Heartland Headquarters, Volunteer Center and Distribution Center, a new facility in Brooklyn Park that activates a vacant industrial space and reimagines it as a multi-functional environment with a dynamic mixture of spaces. The Second Harvest Heartland Headquarters, Volunteer Center and Distribution Center received the additional honor of being selected for the 2021 Michael L. Schrock, AIA Merit Award.
View the 2021 Minneapolis Merit Award press release.
All projects designed by AIA Minneapolis Chapter registered architects and firms. Projects must be complete by the time of the deadline for submittal. Projects themselves may be located anywhere in the world. Firms of all sizes are encouraged to submit. Projects that have been previously submitted are welcome. Previous AIA Minnesota Honor Award project winners are not eligible. Merit Award winning projects are not excluded from AIA Minnesota Honor Awards.
The Merit Award jurors will evaluate projects based on how well they respond to the selection criteria:
Level of success as determined by how well the design supports the health and wellbeing of the client or user; promoting occupant comfort, connection to nature, and/or a healthy lifestyle. Level of success from thoughtful strategies involving discovery and delight and/or lessons learned from previous projects.
How the project addresses critical social, economic and/or environmental needs of the community while reflecting a diversity of values while promoting human connections, at a human scale.
How the project reduces its burden on the environment and dependence on fossil fuels through informed material selection i.e. locally sourced materials & craft; responsible watershed; design resiliency and livability all while benefitting flora and fauna.
How and to what extent the project addresses issues of economic development by adding value for owners and occupants regardless of the project size and budget; a project which provides abundance while living within its means.
Unique technologies employed to meet the expectations of the program, pulling from the grass roots of its organization.
Submissions must be anonymous. If any authorship is revealed on any images or project summaries viewed by the jury, the entry will be disqualified.
The primary philosophy of these awards is the focus on the story of a project. The project description should share that story through the above listed criteria. Your story is compelling and may be a bit different than expected – celebrate and honor the story your building has to tell!
Merit Award Jury
The jury compensation of this award is one of the key factors that makes this award unique. Jury members will be comprised of business, real estate, community and academic leaders, as well as architects.
Submissions must include the following:
- Completed Entry Form
- Project summary narrative (200-250 words)
- One-page project description which provides a narrative on how the project responds to the criteria listed above
- Feedback from the end users, (quotes, letters, articles, etc.)
- 8–12 photographs, prints and/or drawings (jpg format). At least one image showing the site context
To better understand the story, the jury will – if possible – visit the projects that are short listed. When it is not feasible or gatherings in person are not advised, the jury can decide based on the materials submitted, and/or connect with the office of the architect, users, and/or clients.
$25 entry fee per entry
The Merit Awards are presented at a luncheon event in July.
If you have any questions or concerns related to the AIA Minneapolis Merit Award process, please email Amber Allardyce, Deputy Executive Director or call (612) 767-1748.
2020 Minneapolis Merit Award Recipients
LEO A DALY’s Anoka County Centennial Library Renovation and Expansion
MacDonald & Mack Architect’s Arvonne Fraser Library
Perkins and Will’s Land O’Lakes Headquarters Expansion
Ryan A+E, Inc.’s Millwright Building at Downtown East
Alliiance’s University of Minnesota John T. Tate Hall Renovation
Alliiance’s University Enterprise Laboratories Renovation and Addition
UrbanWorks Architecture’s Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) Center for Adult Learning
View the 2020 Minneapolis Merit Award press release.
2019 Minneapolis Merit Award Recipients
Bell Museum, Perkins and Will
Lora, ESG Architecture & Design
Target Center Renovation, Alliance
YouthLink and Project for Pride in Living, UrbanWorks Architecture LLC
Hennepin County Webber Park Library, Lawal Scott Erickson (LSE) Architects, Inc.
Westminster Presbyterian Church Addition and Renovation, James Dayton Design Ltd.
View the 2019 Minneapolis Merit Awards press release.
2018 Minneapolis Merit Award Recipients
The Shed at Crown Center, RoehrSchmitt Architecture, LLC
Columbia Heights Public Library, HGA Architects & Engineers
Ohm Sweet Ohm, SALA Architects
The Simons Livery Stable, U+B Architecture and Design
The Science Mill, Alliiance
2017 Minneapolis Merit Award Recipients
Be the Match, Perkins+Will
DC Group Office Headquarters, UrbanWorks Architecture, LLC
Fireman’s Park & Chaska Curling and Event Center, 292 Design Group
Sandcastle, LOCUS Architecture
South Minneapolis Office, LOCUS Architecture
Twin Cities Academy, Kodet Architectural Group, Ltd.
View the 2017 Minneapolis Merit Awards press release.
2016 Minneapolis Merit Award Recipients
BKV Group’s A-Mill Artist Lofts
Cuningham Group Architecture, Inc.’s Twin Cities PBS (TPT)
Perkins+Will’s St. Louis County Government Services Center Renovation
U+B Architecture & Design’s Kiran Stordalen and Horst Rechelbacher Pediatric Pain, Palliative and Integrative Medicine
View the 2016 Minneapolis Merit Awards press release.
2015 Minneapolis Merit Award Recipients
Locus Architects and Isenberg Associates’ East Side Enterprise Center
BKV Group’s Schmidt Artist Lofts
CITYDESKSTUDIO, Inc.’s Peppers & Fries
Alliiance’s Xcel Energy Hiawatha West Substation Enclosure
Shelter Architecture’s Dwan Maintenance Building
Download the 2015 Minneapolis Merit Awards press release.
2014 Minneapolis Merit Award Recipients
Perkins+Will’s Wadena Deer-Creek Middle School + High School
Kodet Architectural Group, Ltd.’s MnDOT Maple Grove Vehicle Maintenance Facility
Miller Dunwiddie Architecture, Inc.’s Unity Church – Unitarian
Kodet Architectural Group, Ltd.’s Hmong College Prep Academy