Pictured left to right: 2021 Collaborative Achievement Award recipients Lonnie Laffen, AIA, Kim Palmer, and Ben Ptacek, AIA.

Through the Collaborative Achievement Awards program, AIA Minnesota recognizes individuals and organizations for exceptional contributions to AIA, the profession, or the quality of the built environment.

The entry period for the Collaborative Achievement Award is now closed. Submissions will open again in 2022.


The person making the nomination must be a current AIA Minnesota member. The person being nominated for the award does not need to be an AIA member.

Nominees may be recognized for significant achievement or a body of work in a range of endeavors including, but not limited to:

  • Administration;
  • Architectural education;
  • Architectural scholarship and criticism;
  • Building technology innovation;
  • Construction;
  • Industrial design;
  • Information science;
  • Professions allied with architecture and architectural patronage;
  • Public policy and design advocacy;
  • Research, art and craftsmanship;
  • Service to AIA or any of its components;
  • Visualization, recording, and illustration; and
  • Writing and publishing.

Professions allied with architecture and architectural patronage may include, but are not limited to contractors, materials, exhibitors and other collaborators. Nominated clients must work broadly with architects, beyond one firm.

Recipients of the Collaborative Achievement Award should embody the core values of AIA Minnesota: Authenticity, Equity, Collaboration, and Integrity.

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 Requirements

To be considered for this award, an AIA member must nominate an individual and prepare the necessary submittal materials. Individuals cannot self-nominate.  Submissions should include:

  • (1) Nomination letter. The nominator is to write a letter of nomination highlighting the nominee’s contributions and achievements; extraordinary achievements that may be cited within the submission that warrant this special recognition.
  • (2) Letters of Reference. One-page letter focusing on one or two aspects of the candidate’s submission, signed, and on company letterhead.
  • Exhibits (15 page maximum). Images, drawings, or other materials that demonstrate the candidate’s or organization’s accomplishments that relate to the purpose of the award.

Note: Nomination letters should be third party and may not be from an individual that is within the nominee’s organization, with the exception of nonprofit organizations and public entities. 

2021 Collaborative Award Recipients

Lonnie Laffen, AIA, co-founder of the firm now known as JLG and aformer member of the North Dakota Senate, educator, and active member of AIA.
Kim Palmer is the recently retired Homes editor at the Star Tribune, covering architecture and making it more accessible to the community.
Ben Ptacek, AIA
, is an architect at DJR and served as a co-chair of the AIA Minnesota Housing Advocacy, where he has served as a driving force for the annual Search for Shelter nonprofit design charrette for more than a decade.

Read the press release.

Past Collaborative Achievement Award Recipients

Download a list of past Collaborative Award recipients.