AIA Minnesota Announces a Modified Tour Format for 2020

AIA Minnesota prides itself on delivering events of the highest caliber and quality, and the annual Homes by Architects Tour is no exception. Recently, the organization made the difficult decision to host the 2020 tour virtually in order to protect the health and safety of its members, their staff and volunteers, and the nearly 2,400 tour goers who participate in the event.

Second Call for Projects

In light of this determination, AIA Minnesota will consider a second round of residential projects to be included on the 2020 Homes by Architects Tour and is accepting project submissions until Friday, June 5 at 5:00 pm CT. 

AIA Minnesota feels a virtual tour format has potential to allow for a more inclusive tour, offering an opportunity for architects who were previously unable to participate, due to geographical distance of their firm or the project, to showcase work for the first time.

At this time we seek submissions from architects and firms who are not currently represented in the tour lineup and/or who have not participated in the tour before. We will preference project types that are not already represented in the tour lineup and those that are already completed or have completion dates prior to August 2020.

As always, the Homes by Architects Tour seeks to showcase a balanced range of project scopes, project types, budget sizes, firms and design solutions.  AIA Minnesota staff will have final authority to determine the projects selected for inclusion, with input from members of the residential architecture committee.

Modified participation fee
The usual participation fee of $2,600 has been reduced to $2,000 for this year; there is no fee to submit a project. Once projects have been reviewed and selected, each submitter will be notified and participation fees will be collected at that time. Fee covers the cost for a professional photographer to capture virtual tour footage and related processing fees. Architect or firm is still responsible for providing high-quality, print-ready photography of the project.

What will the virtual tour be like?
Currently, we are working with a local photography company to create a virtual tour package that will show projects in their best light using the Matterport technology, providing a superior viewer experience and allowing for the recognition of project partner sponsors. We expect to combine visual footage with audio of the design team or architect explaining elements of the project. We also expect to coordinate some live events during the original tour dates to allow for engagement between architects and tour goers. While much remains unknown at this time, the AIA Minnesota staff are working hard to confirm as many details of this new format as possible.

Will my clients’ privacy be protected?
While in a typical tour we publish each project’s physical address so that tour goers can locate each home on the tour route, with a virtual tour this is not a necessity. We don’t expect to publish the property addresses of projects featured on the 2020 tour but will likely reference the city or town in which they are located.

While the entire house must be captured by the photographer in order to compile a 3D model of the home, the virtual tour technology allows for any portion of the home to be ‘turned off’ so that only the spaces that the homeowners wish to be on view will be available to the viewer. AIA Minnesota will coordinate the photographer visit to each project and will provide architect and client with ample advance notice so staging may be completed and personal items may be removed from view, if desired.

Click here to download an information sheet suitable for sharing with clients.

If my project is featured on this year’s virtual tour, can I put it on again in 2021?
We are not entertaining that option at this time, due to a variety of factors. We feel there is no guarantee that the 2021 tour will be a live event; we also know our tour audience is a loyal one who attends this event each year. Part of our brand is offering a new and interesting slate of projects each year to that audience, so showing a home two years in a row would not be in line with maintaining that aspect of our brand.

If you have additional questions about participating in the 2020 Tour, please contact Angie McKinley.

Start a submission >

Helpful information and links:

Call for Entries Document (virtual tour)
Architect Agreement (virtual tour)
Homeowner Consent Form (virtual tour)
Supplier List Form
Frequently Asked Questions about Architect Participation
Online entry submission portal

Why Participate in the Tour?

  • Get your work in front of a broad local audience
    The Homes by Architects Tour is promoted through digital, print, television and radio media channels to a broad consumer audience. When your firm participates in the tour you benefit from that broad scale promotion, and you’ll have the chance to speak with hundreds of tour visitors who come through your project during the two days of the tour. 

  • Expand your contact database
    Collect contact information from tour visitors to expand your mailing list and grow your list of potential clients.

  • Help make architecture more accessible, understandable and highly valued
    With this event, AIA Minnesota strives to demonstrate to the public the value of architect-led residential design in our community. Your work helps convey that message.

  • Take advantage of the promotional benefits of the tour
    AIA Minnesota partners with PR firm Nemer Fieger to promote and market the tour regionally and invests $60,000 in print, digital, and radio advertising. 


Questions? Contact Angie McKinley.