2020 Young Architects Award Recipient

Emerging talent deserves recognition. The AIA Young Architects Award honors individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and made significant contributions to the architecture profession early in their careers.

Through architecture, Meredith Hayes Gordon, AIA, has found her ideal platform to serve others. For her, architecture is about advocating for everyone’s needs to produce quality design that leaves a lasting positive impact for all who experience it. Gordon’s adherence to this mission unfolds in a number of collaborations and through her engagement with the communities she serves.

From the outset of her career, Gordon discovered that her empathic nature and ability to listen led to a comfort level among clients and stakeholders that fosters a deeper level of engagement. Her ability to advocate for everyone’s needs was vital in her early health care projects and helped her lead large design teams on complex projects, such as the University of Kentucky Research Building 2 and the new headquarters for Dropbox. As a principal and associate vice president at HGA’s Minneapolis office, she operates with the belief that architects are responsible for envisioning the future. Her thoughtful processes and ensuing solutions continually grow the value of architecture for both her clients and the general public.

During her time at Perkins+Will, Gordon led the firm’s pro bono initiative and sought out organizations that had not been well served by architects. While many of these groups didn't see the need to engage with an architect or be able to afford one, Gordon’s outreach helped them understand the value of design. Her ability to bring necessary voices to the table is evident in a project she managed for the Center for Victims of Torture during her time at Perkins+Will. The organization had grown from a small clinic providing care for refugees and asylum seekers in the Twin Cities to an organization with international reach and care programs in Africa and the Middle East. The firm, as a pro bono partner, engaged a much broader community to craft an inclusive design process to build consensus and deliver new offices at a cost that did not diminish critical resources.

Gordon was elected the 2017 president of AIA Minnesota, becoming the youngest person to hold the position. In that role, she led the chapter’s strategic planning effort, crafting a new mission—“advancing a vital profession, vibrant communities, and architecture that endures”—and transforming the ways in which it engages its membership and the public. Her work there has greatly benefited the state’s architectural community, forging a path for a profession that is both relevant and inclusive. In recognition of her efforts and professional work, Gordon received the AIA Minnesota Young Architect Award just one year after earning her license. Gordon’s service to AIA continues with vital roles as a member of the Minnesota Architecture Foundation’s board and as co-chair of a task force to create a new center for architecture.

As one of the most influential and vibrant young leaders in her firm and throughout Minnesota, Gordon has significantly broadened architecture’s value proposition. Intentional and impactful, Gordon is a model for the future of the profession.


Edward Vance, FAIA (Chair), EV&A Architects, Inc., Las Vegas, Nevada

Peter Kuttner, FAIA, Cambridge Seven Associates, Inc., Boston, Massachusetts

John Castellana, FAIA, TMP Architecture, Inc., Bloomfield Hill, Michigan

Roger Schluntz, FAIA, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Frances Halsband, FAIA, Klimet Halsband Architects, New York, New York

Lora Teagarden, AIA, RATIO Architects, Inc.,  Indianapolis, Indiana

Image credits

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Adrienne Fox Photographer

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AIA Minnesota

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Brandon Stengel

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Chad Holder

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