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 2020 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.

The Honor Awards call for entries will open August 3, 2020. Submissions will be due September 25, 2020.

The fee to enter the Honor Awards is $150.


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

  • The project must have been completed within the last seven years (since January 1, 2010) 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 intern architects; 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 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.


Categories clarify the entry requirements and reinforce to the jury the broad and diverse areas of practice of the profession. (Entering the same project in multiple categories is not allowed. Awards are not necessarily given for each category, nor is there any required number of awards.)

Architecture (A) — Any project of built-work, in large scale, that demonstrates excellence in the resolution and integration of formal and functional requirements with societal, technical, and environmental advances.

Interiors (I) — Any project of built, interior work that demonstrates excellence in the resolution and integration of formal and functional requirements with societal, technical, and environmental advances.

Renovation & Restoration (R) — Any project of built-work that demonstrates skill and sensitivity in the preservation, restoration, or alternative reuse of existing buildings, regardless of their original architectural intent.

Urban Design & Master Planning (U) — Any project, partially or fully completed, that demonstrates the creation or encouragement of a sense of place and benefits the entire population of a neighborhood, city, or region; reinforces and enhances the existing community fabric; or reflects a vision of what neighborhoods and/or cities could be.

Small Project (S) — Any project of built-work, in small scale, that demonstrates excellence in the resolution and integration of formal and functional requirements with societal, technical, and environmental advances. (May include single-family houses, additions, outbuildings, installations, or temporary architecture.)

Process Information

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

  • Relationship of a project’s design to its size or complexity to site and larger contextual concerns
  • Degree of design invention and convention
  • Response to program
  • Attention to craft and detail
  • Environmental advancement demonstrating sustainable design and conservation of resources
  • Adherence to the submission guidelines and requirements

Submissions are weighed individually – not in competition with each other. As a rule, 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 firm as architect, associate architect, consultant, or client is ineligible and will be disqualified if submitted.

Communication with the jury from the time of submittal to completion of the jury process by the candidate or anyone acting on their behalf 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 category letter, 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
  • Submit floor/site plans according to the category instructions below
  • Do not submit Illustrator files – convert to JPEG format
  • Images should be named in this format: entry category letter, entry name, two-digit image number (for example, A_IDS Center_01.jpg, A_IDS Center_02.jpg, etc.)

Image Guidelines by Entry Category
Architecture & Small Project

  1. Provide views of the building, including its interior and environment, sufficient to completely describe the project
  2. For a group of buildings, provide at least one photo of the project sufficient to illustrate the concept – including its relationship to its environment
  3. Provide a site plan, showing the project and its immediate environs
  4. Provide floor plans and sections sufficient to explain the solution; indicate the scale graphically


  1. Only provide an exterior image of the building if it is relevant to the design of the project
  2. Submit images sufficient to describe the project
  3. Provide floor plans and sections as necessary to explain the project, including furniture, fixtures, or lighting

Renovation & Restoration

  1. Provide information regarding the building’s pre-existing conditions, including plans, sections, and photos (unless evidence is submitted regarding why it is unavailable).
  2. Submit photos sufficient to describe the project
  3. Provide floor plans and sections as necessary to explain the project

Urban Design & Master Planning

  1. In addition to the description of the project or program, provide a statement of the project’s key urban design concepts with an emphasis on process and implementation
  2. Provide drawings and photos as necessary to convey the concept and quality of the project
  3. Reports and other materials may be included in the PDF


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 Communication, Advocacy & Public Outreach, or call 612-338-6763.


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.