The AIA Minnesota Firm Award, given biennially, is among the highest honors bestowed by the association, recognizing an AIA Minnesota member firm that has made outstanding contributions to the advancement of the profession of architecture.
The submission window for the Firm Award program is closed until 2025.
2023 Firm Award: LSE Architects
Founded in 2011 by Mohammed Lawal, FAIA, Quin Scott, AIA, and Ron Erickson, AIA Member Emeritus, LSE Architects has become the largest Black-owned architecture and interior design firm in the Upper Midwest, serving a wide range of clients in 28 states. In its selection of LSE Architects, the 2023 Firm Award jury cited the firm’s impressive growth in just 12 years, the quality of its work across a range of building types and scales, and the way LSE has challenged traditional assumptions about public process and inclusion.
2021 Firm Award: LHB, Inc.
With 254 professionals working across a variety of disciplines and in offices in Duluth, Cambridge, and Minneapolis, Minnesota, as well as Superior, Wisconsin, LHB has advanced sustainable design in our state and around the country through its design work and research.
The AIA Minnesota Firm Award is open to any individual firm or successor firm or organization of architects with an office in Minnesota. Prior recipients are eligible to resubmit after 10 years.
Chapters, committees, board members, or members may submit nominations.
The AIA Minnesota Firm Award nomination and selection process takes place every two years, although there is no obligation for the Firm Award Selection Committee to make the award in any given year.
The Firm Award Selection Committee evaluates candidates based on how well they meet program criteria, which include how firms have:
- Demonstrated great depth and breadth in their work, having a cumulative effect on the profession of architecture in Minnesota;
- Produced work that is a product of a collaborative environment, consistently addressing the future of architecture while honoring its tradition;
- Transcended or united specific areas of expertise; and
- Become widely known—by architects, designers, educators, and the public—for the quality of their work.
Additional selection considerations
Throughout the submission, where applicable and to the extent possible, nominators are encouraged to highlight any aspect of work that may have reflected contributions or sensitivity concerning areas of special interest to or the strategic priorities of AIA Minnesota, its members, and the architecture profession in Minnesota, including but not limited to the policy and position statements of AIA Minnesota. These might include such areas as diversity, sustainability, architectural education, or the mentoring of emerging professionals, to the degree the firm has had the opportunity to address them, or as these topics may enhance the presentation.
Firm Award Selection Committee
The 2023 AIA Minnesota Firm Award Selection Committee:
- Sam Olbekson, AIA, AICAE, NOMA – Selection Committee Chair, Full Circle Indigenous Planning + Design
- Amy Kalar, AIA – BWBR
- Nathan Johnson, FAIA, NOMA – 4RM+ULA
- Michael Fischer, AIA – LHB, Inc.
- Rebecca Muchow, AIA – Cushing Terrell
- Simona Fischer, AIA – MSR Design
- Melissa Lefebvre, AIA – DSGW Architects
The composition of the Firm Award Selection Committee is as follows:
- Two AIA Minnesota Board Members – one of which will be the AIA Minnesota President (or in their place, the AIA Minnesota President-Elect), who will serve as Chair of the Committee
- One AIA Fellow
- One Past Recipient
- One AIA Minnesota Committee on Design chair/co-chair
- Two individuals selected by the Committee on Design to represent the priorities and diverse perspectives of the Minnesota architecture community
The Firm Award Selection Committee is convened prior to the call for nominations. Committee members are ineligible to submit nominations during their time of service on the Committee.
Communication with the Firm Award Selection Committee in any given year regarding any aspect of the nomination or selection process – from the time the Selection Committee is convened to the completion of the selection process – by the nominator, nominee(s), or anyone acting on their behalf is inappropriate and cause for disqualification.
Nominator Submission Requirements
There is no entry fee for this award program. Submissions are completed online.
- Nomination letter, addressed to the Committee Chair, summarizing the firm’s contributions, not to exceed one page;
- Statement or list of the firm’s achievements and awards, not to exceed two pages;
- Descriptive statements and images of the firm’s work—including site plans—for each project represented accompanied by at least three images;
- Five letters of support addressed to the Committee Chair, not to exceed one page each.
- Optional: miscellaneous material, including clippings and articles—is optional but may not exceed three pages
Confirmation of Selection
The Firm Award Selection Committee will present its recommended selection for the Award to the AIA Minnesota Board of Directors. In order for that selection to be confirmed, it must be approved by at least a ¾ vote of the Board.
If you have any questions or concerns related to the AIA Minnesota Firm Award process, please contact Mary-Margaret Zindren, Executive Vice President, or Sheri Hansen, Director of Communications, Advocacy & Public Outreach, or call 612-338-6763.
Firm Award Recipients
2023 LSE Architects
2021 LHB, Inc.
2019 Perkins and Will Minneapolis
2017 Kodet Architectural Group, Ltd.
2013 Cuningham Group Architecture, Inc.
2011 MacDonald and Mack
2007 Elness Swenson Graham Architects, Inc. (ESG)
2005 SALA Architects
2003 The Weidt Group
2001 Miller Dunwiddie Architects, Inc.
1999 Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd. (MSR)
1997 Rafferty, Rafferty, Tollefson Architects
1995 The Leonard Parker Associates, Architects, Inc.
1994 The Architectural Alliance
1993 Ellerbe Becket
1992 Hammel, Green and Abrahamson
* AIA Architecture Firm Award recipient