Celebrating DISCOVERY and advancement of architectural education to graduates and practitioners through foreign/domestic travel-study

2025 Competition: February 20-March 4

The Minnesota Architectural Foundation (MAF) has sponsored the Ralph Rapson Traveling Study Award (RRTSA) since the first competition held in 1989. Its purpose is to provide recent graduates and young designers an opportunity to advance their education in architecture by pursuing foreign or domestic travel-study. The 2025 recipient is expected to receive a $15,000 award and will be selected on the basis of a two-week, juried design competition. Please read the following requirements carefully.


Eligibility for this competition is extended to AIA members or AIA Associate members, 40 years of age or younger on January 1, 2025. Additionally, candidates must meet one of the following two eligibility requirements:

  1. Received a degree from a Minnesota NAAB accredited school of architecture (University of Minnesota or Dunwoody College of Technology); or
  2. Received a degree from any NAAB accredited school of architecture, are currently living in Minnesota, and have been employed for at least one year at a Minnesota architectural firm.

Past RRTSA recipients are not eligible.

Open Discussion on Entering the Competition: Who, What, Why, and How

Review the 2024 recorded session where MAF board members, past participants, and recipients shared details of the competition.  This informal session will diffuse misconceptions, clarify who’s eligible to participate, discuss how a design concept is formed, provide tips on planning your time, review the submission process, and answer all of your questions. View the recorded session

Application Deadline: February 13, 2025

Applications for 2025 will be available January 1, 2025. All individuals wishing to participate in the competition must submit a completed application, and $30.00 application fee by 4:00 pm, CST, Thursday, February 13, 2025. 

Competition Dates: February 20 – March 4, 2025

The competition will begin at 12:00 noon CST on Thursday, February 20, 2025 and conclude at 12:00 noon CST on Tuesday, March 4, 2025. Program briefs will be emailed to the address you provide on your application at 12:00 noon CST on Thursday, February 20, 2025 to all participants.

Submittal Deadline: March 4, 2025, 12:00 noon CST

Competitors will submit digital submissions only. Specific digital submission requirements will be shared along with the program brief. The final submission file type will be universally accepted. 

Jury Process

The two-part jury process will occur in March 2025 with dates subject to change.

Initial Jury: Thursday, March 13, 2025  (Date subject to change)

During the initial jury, all entries will be juried down to a limited number of finalists (5 or less). Finalists will be notified immediately following the initial jury. All competitors will be emailed the names of the finalists after the initial jury. The demographically diverse jury members will be determined by the Ralph Rapson committee and could include architects, Foundation board members, experts related to the competition brief, previous RRTSA recipients or finalists who are no longer eligible to participate, and other associated design professionals.

Final Jury: Thursday, March 27, 2025 (date subject to change)

All finalists are required to participate in the final jury and will receive an “Honorable Mention” award and $500. Non-local finalists are eligible for a $250 travel stipend. Finalists will participate in a full and open discussion (with the jury) of their design ideas and project concept. Additionally, they will be asked about their general travel-study plans and what they believe can be accomplished through this opportunity. Final travel-study plans and itineraries are not required at this time but a theme or intent is. The recipient of the award will be announced at a gathering (virtual or in-person to be determined) of all finalists and jurors following the final jury process. 

About Submissions

Submission digital format requirements will be included in the program brief. Submissions will be in digital format only. You may work on this competition anywhere you’d like, your office, your home, on a sailboat, etc! All work must be your own; it’s not a team project!


The Ralph Rapson Traveling Study Award is an endowed fund administered by the Minnesota Architectural Foundation. Current funding provides for the competition on an annual basis. The competitions typically had 50-60 applicants and 40-45  competitors making submissions. The first winner, in 1989, was Brian Larson, AIA, a Colorado graduate practicing in Minnesota. His travel-study focused on Scandinavia. Recent winners include Nancy Blankfard, AIA (1997), Yinsze Lam (1998), Bill Blanski, AIA (1999), Dan Nepp, AIA (2000), Nick Woodard, AIA (2001), Michael Kennedy, AIA (2002), Matt Kreilich, AIA (2003), Eric Amel, AIA (2005), Creed Kampa, AIA (2006), Nicholas Potts, AIA (2007), Stephen James, Assoc. AIA (2008) Laura Cayere-King, Assoc. AIA (2010), M. Michael McElderry, Assoc. AIA (2011), Andrew Weyenberg, AIA (2012), Douglas Gerlach, AIA (2013), Mark Stankey, AIA (2014), Nat Madson, AIA (2015), David Johansson, Assoc. AIA (2016), Hans-Christian Karlberg, Assoc. AIA (2017), Shida Du, AIA (2018), Michael Hara, AIA (2019), Matthew Tierney, AIA (2020), David Wilson, AIA (2021), Derek Maher, AIA (2022), Jesse Zeien, AIA (2023), and Isaac Tapp, Assoc. AIA (2024).

If you have any questions, please contact Mary-Margaret Zindren, MAF Executive Director or Amber Allardyce