Minneapolis, November 3, 2022—Tom Meyer, FAIA, is the recipient of the 2022 AIA Minnesota Gold Medal. Given by the American Institute of Architects Minnesota, this award is the highest honor bestowed by the association, recognizing those who have made lasting contributions to the field of architecture.
Gold Medal candidates are nominated by their peers and evaluated on the degree to which they have: demonstrated great depth and breadth, having a cumulative effect on the profession of architecture in Minnesota; addressed 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 are aspects of the nominees’ work or life experience that reflect contributions of special interest to AIA Minnesota, such as diversity, sustainability, architectural education, and mentoring of emerging professionals, and demonstration of exemplary character and ethics.
The 2022 Gold Medal Jury included Alicia Belton, FAIA, NOMA, president, AIA Minnesota and jury chair; Sam Olbekson, AIA, president elect, AIA Minnesota; Doug Bergert, AIA, co-chair, AIA Minnesota Committee on Design; AIA Fellows Michelle Mongeon Allen, FAIA, and Rebecca Lewis, FAIA; and 2020 AIA Minnesota Gold Medalists James Garrett, Jr., AIA, NOMA, and Nathan Johnson, AIA, NOMA.
The jury noted the exponential impact Tom has had on the architecture community through his work as a firm leader and as an educator at the University of Minnesota’s College of Design. In addition to an important legacy of innovative, award-winning design work, Tom has significantly influenced and guided current and future generations of architects. His design of the Mill City Museum project brings a new design language to a historic shell. Tom’s work to cofound a sustainable design centered practice and create a strong transition to second-generation, woman-owned leadership are standout contributions to Minnesota’s architecture community.
“For a field too easily criticized for the ego of some of its most visible practitioners, Tom Meyer serves as the antidote to that sometimes-unfair characterization,” said nominator Tom Fisher, Assoc. AIA. “His openness to new ideas, his unpretentious acceptance of diverse points of view, his ability to evolve and remain relevant, and his willingness to serve the community in which he lives and works make him a superb architect and an ideal candidate for the Gold Medal.”
Within the community, Tom Meyer has served as a trustee of the Mississippi River Fund, a member of the Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership, and a member of the Vikings Stadium Implementation Committee.
“Tom’s vision was to connect Minneapolis to its riverfront origins,” noted Julie Snow, FAIA and 2014 Gold Medal recipient. “To realize this vision, years after his graduate thesis predicted a civic return to the river, is extraordinary. Minneapolis owes a great debt to Tom Meyer and others who were responsible for creating a downtown residential neighborhood anchored by civic institutions and park space. The Mill City Museum anchors the district. It is an extraordinary design, folding together the existing built form with newly built elements to create a vibrant architecture composed of a dynamic tension. If our public buildings reflect our community’s highest aspirations, I consider this to be Tom Meyer’s crowning achievement—one for which all Minnesotan’s should be proud— as it beautifully addresses why we are here.”
Clients also laud the powerful impact of Tom’s work on Minnesota’s communities and his unmatched ability to navigate significant challenges. “Together, we worked through the complex issues surrounding the project solving difficult problems and working effectively with the many stakeholders including the United States Department of Interior, Minnesota legislature, the State Historic Preservation Office, Hennepin County, the City of Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, and the many private contributors to the project,” said Nina Archabal, emeritus director of the Minnesota Historical Society. “With Tom’s leadership, we delivered a building that is the jewel of the Minneapolis riverfront, providing a historic context for the Guthrie Theater and the reuse of the nearby mills and new construction in the area.”
Tom has served as a member of the University of Minnesota’s College of Design Advisory Board, cochair of the University’s School of Architecture 2013 Centennial Committee, and as a faculty member in the University of Minnesota College of Design. In supporting the efforts of Renée Cheng, FAIA, Malini Srivastava, AIA, and others, Tom helped develop the Consortium for Research Practices, which supports student research and collaboration with working practitioners, continuing today as the Master of Science in Architecture Research Practices (MS-RP) program.
He was elevated to the AIA College of Fellows in 2006 and is a past president of AIA Minnesota. Tom led the process as Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd., transitioned to new ownership and became MSR Design.
Tom will be celebrated at the AIA Minnesota Awards Celebration on December 2.
The American Institute of Architects Minnesota, founded in 1892, is dedicated to strengthening our communities, improving our built environment, and providing exceptional design. For more information on the organization and Minnesota architectural firms, reference our website, visit our Facebook page, and pick up a copy of ENTER, our digital biweekly and print annual publication.