Since 1954, AIA Minnesota has celebrated outstanding architecture and urban design through its annual Honor Awards Program. We invite you to submit your firm’s best, recent work to be considered for a 2021 Honor Award.

Our Honor Awards acknowledge outstanding built projects by AIA Minnesota members, or firms that are owned by AIA Minnesota members, that practice professionally in Minnesota. We encourage broad participation from established and new practitioners of firms of all sizes — small, medium, or large.

New in 2020, in alignment with AIA National Architecture Awards, AIA Minnesota Honor Awards submissions will be evaluated using the AIA Framework for Design Excellence (see the ten categories below under  Excellence Commendations). 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. Projects should address multiple measures included in the framework, highlighting how they perform in this context and noting relevant narratives and metrics where applicable.

The entry period for the 2021 Honor Awards is now open. Submissions will close at 12:00 noon CST on Friday, September 24, 2021. Submit an entry »

The fee to enter the Honor Awards is $150.

2021 Honor Award Jury

Serving on this year’s jury are Curtis Moody, FAIA, founder of the Columbus, Ohiobased Moody Nolan, which won the 2021 AIA Firm Award; Jane Weinzapfel, FAIA, cofounder of Leers Weinzapfel Associates in Boston; and Mark Leechair of the Department of Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and founding partner of the Los Angeles–based architecture firm Johnston Marklee.


New in 2020: Commendation for Framework in Design Excellence Achievement

AIA Minnesota is establishing the Commendation for Framework in Design Excellence Achievement, which will recognize projects that excel in one particular AIA Framework for Design Excellence measure. The Honor Awards jury will have the discretion to award up to 10 total single-measure commendations but are not required to recognize an entry under each measure. No project shall be chosen for a commendation in more than one category or may receive a commendation in more than one year from the same category. Recipients of a commendation will be eligible to resubmit their project for an Honor Award in future years.

The measures are:

Thank you for your participation in the 66th Annual AIA Minnesota Honor Awards Program!



To be eligible for an Honor Award or Excellence Commendation, submitted projects must follow these guidelines, regardless of budget, style, or project type. Projects that have received an AIA Minnesota Honor Award in past years are not eligible for resubmission. Projects submitted must meet the following four guidelines:


* The project must have been completed within the last seven years (since January 1, 2013) including individual buildings, groups of buildings, preservation or restoration of existing buildings, or building interiors. (Since many urban design and master planning projects are never completed in the traditional sense, incomplete projects may be recognized if a significant portion has been completed);

* The project must have been designed by an AIA Minnesota member at the AIA or Associate level or by a firm that is owned by an AIA Minnesota member at the AIA or Associate level;

* The project must have been designed by an AIA member practicing in accordance with Minnesota architecture registration laws and complying with federal wage and labor laws by not employing unpaid interns; and

* The project must have been designed in Minnesota (for project teams, the majority of the design work needs to have been done in Minnesota) by AIA Minnesota members.


All AIA Minnesota award programs 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 are in compliance with requirements for AIA national awards.


Project types that may be submitted include, but are not limited to, general architecture (large scale), interiors, renovation & restoration, urban design and master planning, and small projects. Awards are not given by category.

Process Information

AIA Minnesota asks jurors to consider the following in their deliberations:

– Achievement in the application of the AIA Framework for Design Excellence measures

– Adherence to the submission guidelines and requirements

Submissions are weighed individually – not in competition with each other. Projects are judged on their own merit and all awards are given at the jury’s discretion.

In your submission, provide sufficient explanation of the distinguishing characteristics of the project, but avoid lengthy descriptions of features described via graphic images. There will be no site visits.

Any project that credits a jury member or their firm as architect, associate architect, consultant, or client is ineligible and will be disqualified if submitted.

Communication by the candidate with any member of the jury, or anyone acting on their behalf, from the time of submittal to completion of the jury process is inappropriate and cause for disqualification.


Submission Information

The submission must be one PDF imagebook file in book layout that includes no more than 25 vertically oriented 8.5×11-inch pages (the cover plus 24 additional faces.) Layouts can be designed as two-page spreads, with images spanning the two pages, but the spreads must be 17×11 inches and will each count as two of the allowed 25 pages. (Note that the latter approach—a vertically oriented 8.5×11 cover plus 12 17×11 spreads—is a must if you want the jury to view your submission as spreads.) Call if you have questions about this. No exceptions will be made.

It is your responsibility to make sure the architect’s name and/or firm name is not revealed on any of the file names, images, plans, or narratives – failure to follow this requirement will automatically disqualify the entry.

Each submission must contain a precise description of the project. Submissions should fully explain the original design intentions and distinguishing factors of the work, including the scope, concept, and quality of the project/program.

Every submission must contain sufficient images and plans to completely describe the project.

Page 1/Cover page must include the entry project name, and project location in black, 48-point text on white background, with one-inch margins on all sides. The cover page may include images.

Remaining pages may use any type sizes, type colors, background colors, and margins the entrant chooses.

Submission size of the imagebook file must not exceed 10 MB. This may be accomplished by reducing the image size for each photo/image included within the imagebook prior to placing the image in the imagebook.

Production Tips for Reducing the Size of Your Submission PDF

Raster Images: Monitors typically have a resolution of 96 dpi, so save raster images to be the same or slightly higher for best results when viewed at 100 percent on screen. (Usually a full-page of a pdf is viewed at a reduced scale, but this gives the option of zooming in).

Vector Images: Reduce lines and shapes to the absolute minimum. Don’t use transparency unless necessary.

Fonts: Only use standard fonts when creating a PDF. Other fonts will need to be embedded in the file and will increase file size.

Adobe suggests that all images be reduced to the final size prior to placement in the layout program, as some presentation programs may not downsize images when viewing the final PDF. InDesign does downsize images prior to exporting the PDF.


ALL IMAGES used within the imagebook PDF must be uploaded with your submission. After reading all of the instructions on this page, upload the three high-resolution TIFF files by clicking the corresponding Select filebuttons. The remaining JPEG files can be uploaded as a group by clicking the Add attachments button at the bottom of the page. On the next page, you’ll be prompted to enter a description and credit for each image.

The images may be used for the Honor Awards announcement, the Awards Dinner presentation, and other promotional purposes.

  • Submit 3 images in TIFF format for promotional use, minimum 300 dpi at 4×5 inches (5MB limit)
  • All other images should be in JPEG format at 72 dpi
  • Images should be sequenced in the order they appear in the submission PDF
  • Do not submit Illustrator files – convert to JPEG format
  • Images should be named in this format:  entry name, two-digit image number (for example, A_IDS Center_01.jpg, A_IDS Center_02.jpg, etc.

Did You Know?

There are two big changes to 2020’s AIA Minnesota Honor Awards:

  1. In alignment with AIA National Architecture Awards, AIA Minnesota Honor Awards submissions will be evaluated using the AIA Framework for Design Excellence. Each entry should address, using narrative or metrics or both, the project’s achievements in two or more of the ten design measures in the framework. Please note that submissions need not address all ten measures and that metrics are not required. To receive an Honor Award, a project must demonstrate excellence in two or more framework measures.
  2. This year, we’ve added another opportunity for recognition: Commendations for Excellence in a single framework measure. The jurors may award up to ten Commendations, but they are not required to recognize an entry under each measure.  Recipients of Commendations will be eligible to resubmit their projects for an AIA Minnesota Honor Award in future years.

Have questions? Contact AIA Minnesota’s Chris Hudson or Sheri Hansen for answers.


If you have any questions or concerns related to the AIA Minnesota Honor Awards process, please contact Mary-Margaret Zindren, Executive Vice President, or Sheri Hansen, Director of Communications, Advocacy & Public Outreach, or call 612-338-6763.

2020 Honor Award and Commendation Recipients

AIA Minnesota is pleased to announce the selection of recipients of 2020 Honor Awards and Commendations for Framework for Design Excellence Achievement:

Honor Awards:

  • 510, MSR Design
  • Bell Museum, Perkins and Will
  • Countryside Community Church, HGA Architects and Engineers in partnership with Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture
  • Second + Second, Snow Kreilich Architects
  • St. Paul Academy and Summit School Upper School Addition and Renovation, HGA Architects and Engineers
  • St. Paul Residences, Snow Kreilich Architects
  • Westwood Hills Nature Center, HGA Architects and Engineers


Commendations for Achievement in a Single Measure of the Framework for Design Excellence:

  • Excellence in Design for Energy: Electric Bungalow, Salmela Architect
  • Excellence in Design for Economy: Spring Creek Residence, VJAA, Inc.
  • Excellence in Design for Integration: X House, Snow Kreilich Architects

Read the news release.

2019 Honor Award Recipients

AIA Minnesota is pleased to announce the selection of seven recipients of 2019 Honor Awards:

  • Derby Line I-91 Land Port of Entry, HGA Architects and Engineers
  • Foraged Boathouse, Kara Hill Studios
  • Goose Creek Safety Rest Area, VJAA, Inc.
  • KNOCK, inc., Christian Dean Architecture with CityDeskStudio
  • Macalester College Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center Phase III – Theater and Dance, HGA Architects and Engineers
  • Minnehaha Academy Upper Campus, Cuningham Group Architecture
  • Rothe Amundson, Salmela Architect

Read the news release.

2018 Honor Award Recipients

AIA Minnesota is pleased to announce the selection of four recipients of 2018 Honor Awards:

  • Brookview Elementary, BWBR
  • Haverford College VCAM Building, MSR Design
  • Music and Performance Commons, HGA Architects and Engineers
  • Temple Israel Expansion, HGA Architects and Engineers

Read the news release.

2017 Honor Award Recipients

AIA Minnesota is pleased to announce the selection of thirteen recipients of 2017 Honor Awards:

  • Deloia, Salmela Architect
  • Faulkner Performing Arts Center, HGA Architects and Engineers
  • Huss Center for the Performing Arts, HGA Architects and Engineers
  • Hyytinen Cabin, Salmela Architect
  • La Mesita, Locus Architecture with RAW Workshop
  • Lofts at Mayo Park, Snow Kreilich Architects
  • Mill Street Parking Structure, HGA Architects and Engineers
  • Minnesota State Capitol Restoration, HGA Architects and Engineers
  • Q Wood and Steel, Kara Hill Studio
  • Ramsey County Library–Shoreview, HGA Architects and Engineers
  • Straight River Northbound Safety Rest Area, Snow Kreilich Architects
  • Walker Art Center Expansion, HGA Architects and Engineers
  • Wayzata Residence, Snow Kreilich Architects
Read the news release.

Past Honor Award Recipients

Download a list of past Honor Award recipients.