AIA Minnesota is mobilizing architects and the broader architecture community to provide one-hour consultation services to restaurants, bars and food service establishments to help them apply the State of Minnesota’s guidance for reopening in the midst of COVID-19. Architects licensed to practice in Minnesota, along with architectural designers and other key collaborators, will be matched with business owners/operators to explore options specific to their site and spaces. Architects/teams that include architects will be donating their time as a public service; an administrative fee of $50 will be charged by AIA Minnesota to offset the costs of developing and administering this program. This service will be available on a first come, first served basis, and is limited based on the capacity of the architecture community.

Register for the architect consultation service

Eligible Establishments

  • Restaurants
  • Bars
  • Restaurants with bars
  • Coffee shops
  • Other food service establishments

Spaces of Focus for Consultation

Spaces can include the interior of a restaurant/bar, including employee-only spaces; spaces utilized by the restaurant/bar in other parts of the building – such as entrances, restrooms, and hallways in common areas of the building; and/or exterior spaces adjacent to the entries and exits to the space, such as sidewalks, parking lots, and streets.

Time Period for Service

This service will be available on a first come, first served basis, and is limited based on the capacity of the architecture community. NOTE: With the State’s decision to only open outdoor – not indoor – seating for restaurants on June 1, and outstanding questions on the State guidance published May 20th, the timeframe for this service will need to shift; while originally planned for May 26-June 12, consultations will now begin a few days later. Registration is open and we will keep those who register informed about the shifted timeframe for service. Restaurants and bars wanting help thinking about outdoor seating are especially encouraged to register now.


The architect/team will meet with the client using Zoom video conference, or by phone through Zoom, if the client prefers.


Licensed architects will lead these consultations. They will provide the consultations on their own or potentially teamed along with designers and other key collaborators whose opportunities to be mentored by licensed architects have been negatively affected by the pandemic. The licensed architect will lead the preparation for the consultation, and the consultation itself.

AIA Minnesota will randomly pair clients with volunteers; however, general geographic proximity and any needed accommodations will be taken into consideration.

If the client wants additional assistance from the architect/team beyond the one-hour consultation received, this would require a new contract for services that is specific to the project to be undertaken and the fee would be determined by the architect/team, in consultation with the client. There is no expectation among the architects/teams that the one-hour pro bono consultation will lead to additional architectural services.

Informing the Consultation

When you register, clients will be asked for either the approximate square footage or the pre-COVID-19 maximum occupancy of the space that is the focus of your consultation with the architect.

In advance of the consultation, clients are invited to provide relevant information related to the space (e.g., photos of the space, specific concerns and challenges you’ve already identified, modifications you’ve considered or incorporated, etc.). The architect/team will review this material in advance of the meeting (up to an hour of additional pro bono time).

Language Differences

We anticipate that there may be differences in primary languages between the consulting architect/team and client. AIA Minnesota will engage translators and interpreters as needed. This cost would not be added to the fee charged for the one-hour service.

Price and Payment

The $50 fee is to cover the administrative costs related to AIA Minnesota developing and administering this service. The architects, and any additional individuals they bring onto their team, will be engaging pro bono as a public service. 

Clients are encouraged to pay by credit card. Payment by check is also an option. Payment must be received in advance of the consultation. 

Register for the architect consultation service


If you have any questions about the service that are not addressed here, e-mail Angie McKinley.