Pictured left to right: Greg Donofrio, Jennifer Newsom, and Lars Peterssen.

MINNEAPOLIS, August 3, 2020
 — AIA Minnesota honored Greg Donofrio, Jennifer Newsom, AIA, NOMA, and Lars Peterssen, AIA, with 2020 Special Awards.


The AIA Minnesota Special Award seeks to encourage, stimulate and recognize exceptional contributions made by individuals and organizations that improve the quality of our physical environment. This award celebrates architecture as a collaborative effort that relies on the talents and commitment of many individuals working together to achieve common goals.


Greg Donofrio is associate professor and director of the Heritage Studies and Public History (HSPH) program at University of Minnesota College of Design. His trailblazing exhibit “Right to Establish a Home,” which explored racism and housing in Minneapolis, is still powerfully relevant today, and his work to establish the interdisciplinary HSPH program is instrumental to better understanding the complex issues our communities face.


Jennifer Newsom, AIA, NOMA, is an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota College of Design and prolific designer, speaker, educator, and artist. Her groundbreaking work has been displayed around the country, and drives design thinking into the future. Her work sets a high standard of excellence and her singular voice is changing the face of the profession.

Lars Peterssen, AIA, is principal emeritus at Peterssen/Keller Architecture. The jury recognized Peterssen’s significant contributions to architectural education and the advancement of technology adoption within the profession, as well as his mentorship of generations of architecture professionals.


The AIA Minnesota Special Award jury included representatives from AIA Minnesota committees and previous award winners. This year’s submissions were reviewed by Mia Blanchett, FAIA; Ligeia Cholensky, Allied Member of AIA Minnesota, incoming co-chair of the AIA Minnesota Committee on Design; Alan D’Souza, AIA, NOMA; Katie Pope, AIA; and Jesse Turck, AIA.


The jury noted that as individuals/organizations and as a collective, this group of Special Award recipients embodies the values and goals of AIA Minnesota. Their work encompasses a range of issues essential to advancing the profession, from bringing new lenses to historic preservation and advancing technology adoption, to tireless innovation in design thinking.


These individuals and organizations will receive their awards at the annual AIA Minnesota Awards Celebration on December 4, 2020. Learn more about the Special Award here.


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.