Top left to bottom right: Anoka-Ramsey Community College School of Nursing and Business, Center for Performing Arts Addition, Frogtown Community Center, Hennepin County North Regional Library Refurbishment, MN Historical Society Historic Fort Snelling Historic Restoration and Visitor Center, and MnDOT Safety Rest Areas at Clear Lake and Des Moines River.

For high-resolution images of individual projects, contact Sheri Hansen.

THURSDAY, JUNE 14, MINNEAPOLIS—AIA Minneapolis announces six Merit Awards for projects designed by AIA Minneapolis architects in 2023. Projects receiving an award tell a story of excellence beyond design, emphasize public interest design, and embrace the varied forces that shape a building. Unique in its approach to assembling a jury panel, the AIA Minneapolis Merit Award jury encompasses the views of business professionals, real estate developers, community advocates, academic leaders, and architecture professionals.

2023 AIA Minneapolis Merit Award recipients:

LEO A DALY’s Anoka-Ramsey Community College School of Nursing and Business project is a prototype for the sustainable transformation of outdated mid-century academic structures into high-performance facilities that support modern learning, enhanced student experience, and economical construction.

Alliiance’s Center for Performing Arts Addition more than doubles the existing building with a design emphasizing connection to community through a safe, inviting entrance plaza, gender neutral restrooms, access, and inclusion for all guests. This project exemplifies how a modern addition can complement an older existing structure.

JLG Architects’ Frogtown Community Center bridges the divide between the generationally and ethnically diverse Frogtown neighborhood and larger St. Paul community with a unified, culturally responsive design concept of a new center that provides a vital community gathering place that communicates equity and acceptance.

Bentz Thompson Rietow’s Hennepin County North Regional Library Refurbishment project renovates a dated building to overcome its operational deficiencies and addresses changing programmatic, safety, and community needs while ultimately improving utilization, addressing envelope maintenance issues, and creating outdoor library spaces for all.

LEO A DALY’s Minnesota Historical Society Historic Fort Snelling Historic Restoration and Visitor Center is an adaptive re-use of a 1904 cavalry barrack building into a new state-of-the-art visitor center that enhances the visitor experience and most importantly acknowledges and preserves the fort’s diverse and complex histories of pride and shame.

Alliiance’s MnDOT Safety Rest Areas at Clear Lake and Des Moines River were designed with green roofs and landscaped shelters to enable discovery, respite, and stewardship, while reflecting their purpose and place. The MnDOT Safety Rest Areas at Clear Lake and Des Moines River received the additional honor of being selected for the 2023 Michael L. Schrock, AIA Merit Award (see description below).

The Michael L. Schrock, AIA, Merit Award was created to honor Mike Schrock, AIA, who tragically passed away in 2008. This is an additional honor awarded within the context and structure of the AIA Minneapolis Merit Awards to the winning project that most embodies Michael’s 7 Rules of Architecture:

  1. Know where you are from.
  2. Know who you are.
  3. Know why you are.
  4. Respect your benefactors.
  5. Honor the environment.
  6. Architecture must serve those who occupy it.
  7. There is beauty in functional, economical, safe, environmentally responsible, owner-driven architecture.

The Merit Award jury included: Ashley Vanden Bosch, Assoc. AIA, PKA Architecture; Jessica Garcia Fritz, University of Minnesota; Jon Commers, Donjek, Inc.; and Anna Klimmek, Happy Food MN LLC. The jury reviewed how well the entries support the health and well-being of the client or user, address critical social, economic, and or environmental needs of the community, reduce burdens on the environment, address issues of economic development, and utilize innovation.

The Merit Awards virtual presentation to recipients will occur during the AIA Minneapolis Chapter Lunch Program on Thursday, July 20, 2023. Learn more about the awards on the AIA Minneapolis website.

AIA Minneapolis is the largest chapter in Minnesota with more than 1,600 members. Centered in Minneapolis, the chapter territory includes the southwestern portion of the state. As a large chapter, AIA Minneapolis participates with other large AIA chapters nationwide to focus attention on significant issues facing AIA members. The chapter provides leadership, networking, and outreach opportunities for its members.