MINNEAPOLIS, December 3, 2021
— AIA Minnesota honored five projects with 2021 AIA Minnesota Honor Awards, and six projects with Framework for Design Excellence Commendations. The awards and commendations were announced at the AIA Minnesota Virtual Awards Celebration. Established by the American Institute of Architects Minnesota in 1954, the Honor Awards recognize outstanding built projects by AIA Minnesota members, or firms that are owned by AIA Minnesota members, that practice professionally in Minnesota.

The AIA Minnesota Honor Awards submissions were evaluated according to the AIA Framework for Design Excellence, in alignment with AIA Architecture Awards. Achievement within the Framework for Design Excellence requires a holistic approach to design, addressing the interdependence among people, buildings, infrastructure, and the environment. The Framework focuses on ten categories: Design for Integration, Design for Equitable Communities, Design for Ecosystems, Design for Water, Design for Economy, Design for Energy, Design for Well-being, Design for Resources, Design for Change, and Design for Discovery.

The jury also awarded six AIA Minnesota Commendations for Framework in Design Excellence Achievement. Commendations recognize projects that excel in one Framework for Design Excellence measure, selected from the Honor Awards submissions.

Fifty-eight projects were submitted in 2021 and were evaluated by three internationally renowned architects: Curtis Moody, FAIA, Moody Nolan, Columbus, Ohio; Jane Weinzapfel, FAIA, Leers Weinzapfel Associates, Boston; and Mark Lee, Harvard Graduate School of Design and Johnston Marklee, Los Angeles.

The jury was impressed by the overall quality of all the submissions and noted the large number of impressive public project submissions, as well as the diversity of project types represented in the submissions. They noted that projects were highly sensitive to context, in addition to being beautifully designed.


2021 Honor Award Recipients:

Project name: Arthur J. Altmeyer Federal Building

Excellence in Design for Integration, Resources, and Economy

Location: Woodlawn, Maryland

Client: GSA + Social Security Administration

Firm of record: HGA and Snow Kreilich Architects

Project Team and Partners: HGA, architect and engineer of record; Snow Kreilich Architects, design architect and architect of record (façade); Studio NYL, façade consultant; Hensel Phelps, general contractor; OLIN, landscape architect; Wiles Mensch Corporation, civil engineer; HGA Mechanical, mechanical engineer; HGA Electrical, electrical engineer; Summit Fire Protection, fire protection engineer; Polysonics, acoustic/av/security (building); Hinman, blast and site security consultant; Toscano Clements Taylor (TCT), cost estimating; Sustainable Design Consulting, LLC (SDC), LEED consultant; WDP & Associates, enclosure commissioning

Photo Credit: Kendall McCaugherty

Project Overview: This project transformed a 10-story, concrete-framed, 1959 office building on a Social Security Administration campus. The recladding of the building, new mechanical systems, new stairs and elevator cores, and a complete overhaul of the interiors resulted in dramatic increases in daylighting, occupant comfort, and space efficiency, as well as beauty.


Project name: Lilydale Regional Park Pickerel Lake Pavilion

Excellence in Design for Integration, Ecosystems, and Well-Being

Location: St. Paul, Minnesota

Client: City of St. Paul Parks and Recreation

Firm of Record: VJAA

Project Team and Partners: Jennifer Yoos, FAIA, and Vincent James, FAIA, design principals; Nathan Knutson, AIA, managing principal; Nate Steuerwald, AIA, project architect; Meyer Borgman Johnson, structural engineer; EDI Engineering, MEP; Pierce Pini & Associates, Inc., civil engineer; City of St. Paul Parks and Recreation, landscape architecture

Photo Credit: VJAA (photos by Nate Steuerwald, AIA)

Project Overview:This picnic shelter and gathering place on a remediated brownfield on the Mississippi River serves as a focal point for a 384-acre park known for its hiking, birdwatching, canoeing, and cross-country skiing opportunities. The expressive, folded-plate canopy, composed of weathered steel and thermally modified wood, is tilted slightly upward toward the lake.


Project name: City of Minneapolis Public Service Building
Excellence in Design for Integration, Change, Energy, Equitable Communities, and Well-Being

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Client: City of Minneapolis

Firm of record: MSR Design

Project Team and Partners: MSR Design, architect of record; Henning Larsen, design architect; McClaren, Wilson & Lawrie, public safety and forensic science architect; Buro Happold, structural, mechanical, electrical, and security engineers; Obernel Engineering, plumbing and fire protection engineers; Architectural Wall Systems, curtain wall consultant; Pie Consulting & Engineering, building enclosures and commissioning; Questions & Solutions Engineering, enhanced building commissioning; Coen+Partners, landscape architect; EVS, civil engineer; WC Consulting, specifications writer; Jenosky Consulting, hardware consultant; Jensen Hughes, code and fire protection consultant; Lerch Bates, vertical transportation consultant; TMC, technology consultant; Westwood, solar energy consultant; Rippe Associates, food service consultant; Greenway Transportation Planning, transportation consultant; Kvernstoen Rönnholm & Associates, acoustical consultant; Meyer Borgman Johnson, structural consultant; Hatch LTK, rail systems engineering; JQP, Inc., accessibility consultant; Paulson & Clark, engineering security consultant; Faithful+Gould, cost estimating; Visual Communications, environmental graphics; Koliso, change management consultant; Peter Hendee Brown, community engagement consultant; Cost Planning & Management, international owner representative; Mortenson Construction, manager as advisor

Photo Credit: Corey Gaffer

Project Overview: The sustainably designed, 11-story municipal building brings seven city departments and 1,100 employees under one roof and completes a civic square on Government Plaza in downtown Minneapolis. The sleek design and openness at street level heralds a new era of transparency, accessibility, and welcome in local government services.


Project name: Chicago Infill House

Excellence in Design for Integration and Well-Being

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Client: Anonymous

Firm of Record: VJAA

Project Team and Partners: Vincent James, FAIA, and Jennifer Yoos, FAIA, design principals; Nathan Knutson, AIA, managing principal; Paul Yaggie, AIA, project architect; Dzenita Hadziomerovic, design and interiors; Tim Ogren, AIA, and Sam Daley, Assoc. AIA, project team; VAA, structural engineer; WMA Consulting Engineers, mechanical/electrical engineer; Savane Properties, contractor

Photo Credit: Steve Hall and Nick Merrick

Project Overview: The architects of this new long and narrow home in the Lincoln Park neighborhood refer to it as a variation on the row house. Floor-to-ceiling bay windows face the street, while a courtyard and terraces offer integrated outdoor living in back; in between, a highly efficient floor plan organized around an open central stair ensures airiness throughout the main living spaces.


Project name: Manitowish Waters Fire Hall

Excellence in Design for Economy and Change

Location: Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin

Client: Manitowish Waters Fire Company

Firm of Record: HGA

Project Team and Partners: Josh Stowers, AIA; Glenn Waguespack, AIA; Sam Edelstein, AIA; Andrew Holmgren, AIA; Mari Ansera; Nate McCoy; Lauren Piepho; Patrick Doss-Smith; Kenny Horns; Kayla Molkenthin; Gerhard Guth, AIA; Market & Johnson, construction manager; Huffcutt, architectural precast; Daigle Brothers, Inc., steel fabrication; Industrial Construction Specialists, LLC (ICS), steel erection; SDS Painting Company, painting and high-performance coatings; Wisconsin Mechanical Solutions, mechanical systems; Blakeman Plumbing & Heating, Inc., plumbing; Lindquist Electric, Inc., electrical; Omni Glass and Paint, windows; Quality Roofing, roofing system

Photo Credit: Lara Swimmer Photography

Project Overview: This economical project—a simple structure with steel framing, custom precast walls patterned to echo the local landscape and geology, and judicious bursts of brand color—provides its rural community with a full range of fire, rescue, and EMS services. It also serves as a gathering space for the volunteer fire company, their families, and the community as a whole.


2021 Commendation for Framework in Design Excellence Achievement Recipients:

Project Name: Brookview Community Center

Commendation for Excellence in Design for Integration

Location: Golden Valley, Minnesota

Client: City of Golden Valley

Firm of Record: HGA

Project Team and Partners: Nancy Blankfard, FAIA; Glenn Waguespack, AIA; Justin Wang, AIA; Paul Crosland, AIA; Amanda Henderson, AIA; Steven Philippi; Danielle Peterson; Diedre Webster; Stephen Himmerich; Trygve Hansen; Jody Rader; Erik Hansen; Deanna Sokolowski; Sean Cotton; Bryan Greger; John Ellingson; Jennifer Schulz; Jeff Harris; Marlene Bennett; Ben Gutierrez; Jack Caughey; Joe Wetternach; Jeffrey Lee; Caitlin Poynter; Brad Kult; Melissa Cady, AIA; Sar Schnucker; Robert Johnson Miller; Adolfson & Peterson Construction; Rippe Associates; Ballard*King & Associates

Photo Credit: Corey Gaffer

Project Overview: This new civic social hub in a first-ring Minneapolis suburb weaves together recreational activities with welcoming community gathering spaces for all. The design, scaled to the neighborhood, takes cues from the city’s midcentury residential character with clean lines, indoor/outdoor connections, and informally scaled public spaces.


Project Name: Palace Theatre

Commendation for Excellence in Design for Economy

Location: St. Paul, Minnesota

Client: City of St. Paul

Firm of Record: Oertel Architects

Project Team and Partners: Darg Bolgrean Menk, Inc.; Paulson & Clark Engineering, Inc.; Schuler Shook; NTH; McGough; Jam Productions; First Avenue

Photo Credit: Darin Kamnetz

Project Overview: Many St. Paul residents will be familiar with this conversion of a 1916 vaudeville theater turned movie house turned long-vacant cavern into one of the Twin Cities’ most popular music venues. The architects describe the design strategy as “preservation through stabilization”; one of our jurors approvingly calls it “selective demolition.”


Project Name: Jewel Box Cabin

Commendation for Excellence in Design for Economy

Location: Lutsen, Minnesota

Client: Daniel and Elizabeth Walsh

Firm of Record: Imprint Architecture and Design, LLC

Project Team and Partners: Imprint Architecture and Design, LLC

Photo Credit: James Kruger, LandMark Photography

Project Overview: This is an efficiently arranged, 900-square-foot getaway on Caribou Lake. Its construction within the footprint of a tiny cabin that formerly occupied the site caused minimal disturbance to the wooded property. The design combines simple, durable materials with immersive views of the natural surroundings.


Project Name: Louisville Free Public Library Northeast Regional

Commendation for Excellence in Design for Equitable Communities

Location: Louisville, Kentucky

Client: Louisville Free Public Library

Firm of Record: MSR Design and JRA Architects

Project Team and Partners: MSR Design, architect; JRA Architects, architect/engineer; Citizen Engineering, civil engineer; Tetra Tech, structural engineer; Kerr-Greulich Engineers, MEP; MKSK, landscape architect; Sullivan Cozart, construction manager; Paladin Engineers, commissioning engineer

Photo Credit: Cory Klein Photography

Project Overview: This branch library takes the form of a daylit pavilion in a park, extending its learning and gathering spaces to covered outdoor patios. The new facility was sited to preserve most of the mature trees on the site and designed to integrate connective campus paths, all while communicating the activities and technology of a 21st-century library.


Project Name: Norman Public Library Central

Commendation for Excellence in Design for Integration

Location: Norman, Oklahoma

Client: City of Norman, Norman Public Library (Owner), Pioneer Library System

Firm of Record: MSR Design

Project Team and Partners: MSR Design, architect of record; The McKinney Partnership Architects, associate architect; Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, landscape architect/consultant; Flintco, contractor; MODUS Engineering, MEP/AV consultant; 360 Engineering Group, structural engineer; Cedar Creek Consulting, civil engineer; Ten x Ten, landscape architect; David Nelson & Associates, lighting designer; Library Planning Associates, Inc., library consultant; Cost Planning & Management International, Inc., cost estimator; James R. Larson, technical detailer

Photo Credit: Lara Swimmer Photography

Project Overview: This new three-story library wedges between a large city park, a freight corridor, and a residential area. The architects took special inspiration from the iron-rich soil, resilient habitat, dramatic weather patterns, and intense sunlight in this central Oklahoma college town. The jurors were especially interested in the building’s dynamic ceilings.


Project Name: Avivo Village

Commendation for Excellence in Design for Well-Being

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Client: Avivo

Firm of Record: AWH Architects

Project Team and Partners: AWH Architects; Greiner Construction; White Earth Nation; Avivo; Green Your Bottom Line

Photo Credit: AWH Architects

Project Overview: This trauma-informed, low-barrier housing shelter—a village of freestanding enclosures in an underutilized commercial building—explores a new kind of housing in the gap between low-income housing and traditional temporary shelters. In addition to private rooms, clients can access an array of housing, mental health, and chemical dependency services onsite.

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 subscribe to ENTER, our digital weekly that explores building a better built environment in Minnesota.