Pictured: Christopher Strom, AIA, 2024 Residential Architect of Distinction Award recipient.

2024 Residential Architect of Distinction Award

AIA Minnesota is pleased to announce that Christopher Strom, AIA, of Christopher Strom Architects, is the recipient of the 2024 award. Strom will be recognized at an AIA Minnesota Awards Celebration at Crown Roller Mill in Minneapolis in August. Read the release.

Submission Information

This award has been revised and updated in January 2024. Please review the new criteria and submission requirements. 

The Residential Architect of Distinction Award (previously the annual Architect of Distinction Award) is given every two years to a residential architect, licensed for more than 15 years, who has demonstrated architectural excellence through design, craft, and materials, or who has made significant contributions to the advancement of residential design. This award will open next in 2026.


AIA Minnesota members who are in good standing and have been licensed to practice architecture for at least 15 years by the submission deadline are eligible. 

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.

Submission Criteria

Submissions should demonstrate architectural excellence or significant contributions to the advancement of residential design in one or both of the following categories:

— Design excellence demonstrated through the creation of residential buildings and environments that enhance our built communities.
Practice excellence demonstrated through leadership, management, innovation of project delivery, and/or specialized technical expertise.

The jury may also consider these optional supporting criteria:

Commitment to sustainability demonstrated through projects that are resource-efficient and resilient and contribute to a healthy environment. Project examples should highlight areas of alignment with the 10 measures of the Framework for Design Excellence.
Service to the client demonstrated by a sustained commitment to and professional responsibility for the well-being of each client.
Service to the community demonstrated through involvement in the AIA, historic preservation boards, or similar community organizations.
Advocacy for the value of, and broader access to, residential architecture through public speaking, written publications, or the shaping of public policy.
Mentorship of the next generation of residential architects in the form of academic teaching or professional guidance.

Submission Requirements

Materials must be submitted using AIA Minnesota’s online awards platform. The electronic submission process will allow for ease of providing the required materials and a more efficient review process for jurors. A candidate may self-submit, or any current AIA member may nominate another eligible individual.

Each submission must include the following materials:

— Description of the candidate’s unique design philosophy and approach to architecture (up to 250 words).
— A list of the candidate’s professional and/or personal achievements (up to 500 words).
— Visual examples of five built single-family residential projects that illustrate the candidate’s design philosophy, for which the candidate was the lead or principal designer. At least one of the submitted projects must have been completed within the last five years (as of January 1, 2024). (Up to 10 images per project are allowed, including floor plans; file size limit is 5 MB per image. “Before” images are encouraged when the project is a remodel or addition.)
— Project descriptions (up to 200 words per description). Please include how each project addresses a measure or measures of the AIA Framework for Design Excellence. Design excellence requires a holistic approach addressing the interdependence among people, buildings, infrastructure, and the environment. The Framework for Design Excellence provides the elements that support this vision during project evaluation.
— Three to four letters of recommendation from a client, employer, colleague, collaborator, or contractor. If the candidate is nominated by another AIA member, one of these letters must be from the nominator.
— Optional: Additional documentation that demonstrates the candidate’s qualifications to receive the award, such as unbuilt designs or published articles, lectures, or any other form of public advocacy of the value of residential architecture.

All submissions must remain anonymous; no mention of the architect’s name or firm may appear in images, descriptions, or supporting documents. The candidate’s name and personal information will not be visible to jurors during the review process. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in disqualification.


Contact Ann Mayhew (612-767-1740) with questions.

Past Award Recipients

2019 Jean Rehkamp Larson, AIA
2018 Eric Odor, AIA
2017 Christine Albertsson, AIA
2016 Mark Larson, AIA
2015 Dale Mulfinger, FAIA
2014 Katherine Hillbrand, AIA
2013 Rosemary McMonigal, FAIA
2012 Sarah Nettleton, FAIA
2011 Julie Snow, FAIA
2010 Tom Ellison, AIA
2009 Tim Alt, AIA
2008 Dan Nepp, AIA
2007 Tom Meyer, FAIA
2006 Kelly Davis, AIA
2005 Charles Stinson, AIA
2004 David Salmela, FAIA