AIA Minnesota has honored five projects with 2021 AIA Minnesota Honor Awards including the City of Minneapolis Public Service Building. Announced at the AIA Minnesota Virtual Awards Celebration, the Honor Awards recognize outstanding built projects by AIA Minnesota members who practice professionally in Minnesota. The jurors evaluated submissions according to the AIA Framework for Design Excellence in alignment with the national AIA Architecture Awards.
A design collaboration between Henning Larsen and MSR Design, the new Public Service Building serves as the new face of public service for the City of Minneapolis. Bringing seven previously separated city departments and 1,100 employees together under one roof, the building offers a welcoming environment for the public and staff. The building completes the fourth face of Government Plaza to create a cohesive urban space. With the sleek glass exterior and lobby’s floor-to-ceiling glass, warm wood, and stone, it conveys a sense of openness, transparency, and public accessibility. Designed for resilience to last 75 to 100 years, the Public Service Building is a worthy companion to the adjacent historic City Hall. This new hub for positive change provides a physical infrastructure that better supports the city’s diversity and focus on civic engagement.
The AIA Minnesota Honor Awards jury lauded the Minneapolis Public Service Building for outstanding achievement in the Framework for Design Excellence categories of integration, change, energy, equitable communities, and well-being. The jurors described the project as having “great variety in skin and surfaces—very elegant,” being “creatively done,” and “a great accomplishment for a public service building.”
AIA Minnesota also awarded six projects with Framework for Design Excellence Commendations, including the Louisville Free Public Library North East Regional Library (designed by MSR Design and JRA Architects), which was recognized for excellence in design for equitable communities, and Norman Public Library Central (designed by MSR Design), which was recognized for excellence in design for integration.
Three internationally renowned architects—Curtis Moody, FAIA, founder of Moody Nolan; Jane Weinzapfel, FAIA, cofounder of Leers Weinzapfel Associates; and Mark Lee, chair of the Department of Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and founding partner of Johnston Marklee—evaluated 58 projects for this year’s AIA Minnesota Honor Awards program.