Pictured left to right: 2020 Special Award recipients Greg Donofrio, Jennifer Newsom, AIA, NOMA, and Lars Peterssen, AIA.

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

Submissions for 2020 Special Awards are now closed.


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:

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

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.

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. As part of the submission, 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. 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 non-profit organizations and public entities. Submissions should include at least two letters of recommendation (in addition to the nomination letter) and additional imagery and/or articles to illustrate the nominee’s contributions and achievements.

2020 Special Award Recipients

Greg Donofrio, associate professor and director of the Heritage Studies and Public History (HSPH) program at University of Minnesota College of Design and creator of “Right to Establish a Home” exhibit
Jennifer Newsom, AIA, NOMA
, assistant professor at the University of Minnesota College of Design and prolific designer, speaker, educator, and artist
Lars Peterssen, AIA
, significant contributor to architectural education and the advancement of technology adoption within the profession

Read the press release.

Past Special Award Recipients

Download a list of past Special Award recipients.