MSR Design cofounder Tom Meyer, FAIA, is the recipient of the 2022 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Minnesota Gold Medal—the highest honor bestowed by the association. The Gold Medal recognizes those who have made lasting contributions to the field of architecture. Gold Medal candidates are nominated by their peers and evaluated on the degree to which they have demonstrated great depth and breadth, having a cumulative effect on the profession of architecture in Minnesota; addressed the future of architecture while honoring its tradition; transcended or united specific areas of expertise; and become widely known—by architects, designers, educators, and the public—for the quality of their work.
The jury noted the exponential impact Tom has had on the architecture community through his work as a firm leader and as an educator at the University of Minnesota College of Design. In addition to an important legacy of innovative, award-winning design work, Tom has significantly influenced and guided current and future generations of architects. His design of the Mill City Museum complex has been nationally recognized with numerous awards, including an AIA Honor Award for Architecture and National Trust for Historic Preservation Honor Award. Tom’s work to cofound a sustainable design centered practice and create a strong transition to second-generation, woman-owned leadership are standout contributions to Minnesota’s architecture community. Tom was elevated to the AIA College of Fellows in 2006 and is a past president of AIA Minnesota.
“For a field too easily criticized for the ego of some of its most visible practitioners, Tom Meyer serves as the antidote to that sometimes-unfair characterization,” states nominator Tom Fisher, Associate AIA, who is director of the Minnesota Design Center at the University of Minnesota. “His openness to new ideas, his unpretentious acceptance of diverse points of view, his ability to evolve and remain relevant, and his willingness to serve the community in which he lives and works make him a superb architect and an ideal candidate for the Gold Medal.”
“I am deeply grateful to many people: the teachers, mentors, students, clients, and colleagues I have had the privilege of learning from and working with,” says Tom Meyer. “I am especially indebted to my loving and supportive family and to my highly talented MSR Design partners of 40 years, Jeff Scherer and Garth Rockcastle. I am also grateful that architecture became for me not only a wonderful career, but also a form of art through which to experience a meaningful life.”
Tom’s career is threaded with a strong interest in the correlation between old and new, resulting in work with historic district planning, building rehabilitation and restoration, adaptive reuse projects, new construction in historic districts, and museum and interpretive center design. Speaking about the Mill City Museum project collaboration between MSR Design and the Minnesota Historical Society, Nina Archabal, director emerita of the Minnesota Historical Society, states, “With Tom’s leadership, we delivered a building that is the jewel of the Minneapolis riverfront, providing a historic context for the Guthrie Theater and the reuse of the nearby mills and new construction in the area.”
Tom served as a member of the University of Minnesota’s College of Design Advisory Board, cochair of the University’s School of Architecture 2013 Centennial Committee, and as a faculty member in the University of Minnesota College of Design for 25 years. In partnership with Renée Cheng, FAIA, Malini Srivastava, AIA, and others, Tom helped develop the Consortium for Research Practices, which supports student research and collaboration with working practitioners, continuing today as the Master of Science in Architecture Research Practices (MS-RP) program.
The 2022 Gold Medal jury included AIA Minnesota president Alicia Belton, FAIA, NOMA; AIA Minnesota president elect Sam Olbekson, AIA; AIA Minnesota Committee on Design cochair Doug Bergert, AIA; AIA Fellows Michelle Mongeon Allen, FAIA, and Rebecca Lewis, FAIA; and 2020 AIA Minnesota Gold Medalists James Garrett, Jr., AIA, NOMA, and Nathan Johnson, AIA, NOMA. Tom will be celebrated at the AIA Minnesota Awards Celebration on December 2nd. AIA Minnesota is dedicated to strengthening our communities, improving our built environment, and providing exceptional design.