Honorary AIA Minnesota

By Meredith Hayes Gordon, AIA Minnesota President and Mary Margaret Zindren, AIA Minnesota Executive Vice President

“A person of esteemed character who is otherwise ineligible for membership in the Institute or AIA Minnesota but who has rendered distinguished service to the profession of architecture…may be admitted as an Honorary member of AIA Minnesota.”

This provision of the AIA Minnesota bylaws has been in place for many years. On December 8th, at the Annual Awards Dinner, it will be celebrated for the first time, thrice over.

The recipients of this honor could not be more deserving, each having served AIA Minnesota with distinction for many years. While we have cued from the AIA National model of a minimum of 10 years of service as a criterion for selection, it is the depth and breadth of service, the exemplary nature of their work, that was most compelling to the AIA Minnesota Board of Directors in lifting up these three AIA Minnesota staff members with the Honorary AIA Minnesota designation:

Amber Allardyce, Director of Membership & Operations 

“Quiet, level-headed confidence that immediately builds trust and respect.”

“Stable, steady, smart.”

“Sensitivity, empathy and no-nonsense approach.”

“Provided the much-needed continuity, and indeed wisdom, to make sure that there was a smooth EVP transition.”

“It is largely through her guidance and knowledge that AIA Minnesota has continued, and will continue to be, exemplary.”

“Leadership and institutional knowledge.”

“The ‘go-to’ person.”

Deanna Christiansen, Continuing Education Director 

“Open and patient.”

“Models true collaboration.”

“Personal compassion and encouragement.”

“Unbiased advocacy for all of our members.”

“Talent, professionalism, energy, and, most importantly, heart.”

“Enthusiasm for learning, knowledge of the talents of the architectural community, and willingness to explore unique perspectives.”

“A joy to work with.”

Chris Hudson, Editor of Architecture MN magazine 

“Deep understanding of the spirit of place made by others.”

“Has made Minnesota a better place to talk about architecture, and to be an architect.”

“Enthusiasm, quick wit, and high standard for excellence.”


“Positive, sometimes tough, and always honest.”

“Embodies the ideals that represent the best our profession has to offer.”

“His excitement for architecture isn’t just palpable; it’s contagious.”

Letters of support from a wide variety of members who have worked with Amber, Deanna, and Chris eloquently convey their praise, gratitude, and myriad reasons why these individuals are deeply worthy of this honor. We look forward to sharing more highlights from these nomination letters at the Awards Dinner on December 8th, as well as our own reasons for activating the Honorary AIA Minnesota distinction for these three great members of our architecture community. 

Esteemed character. Distinguished service to the profession of architecture.

Amber Allardyce, Hon. AIAMN.
Deanna Christiansen, Hon. AIAMN.
Chris Hudson, Hon. AIAMN.

View the full December issue of Matrix.