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.

An expert in sustainable design, Jesse Turck, AIA, demonstrates his passion for climate change advocacy through his practice and dedication to serving the community. As one of the profession’s most necessary ambassadors, he has driven his firm’s sustainability efforts and amplified the architect’s voice on the global stage.

Turck was raised on a small farm in central Minnesota, where much of the land had been in his family since the 1880s. His family raised hogs and grew crops and Christmas trees, instilling in him at an early age the value of hard work and a respect for natural resources. Those ideals helped guide his studies at North Dakota State University, where he explored sustainable architecture and injected his personal experiences into his projects.

After graduation, Turck landed at Michael J. Burns Architects in Moorhead, Minnesota, where he began work on Renaissance Hall, a renovation of a 100-year-old heavy timber warehouse that was spared demolition and donated to his alma mater. As a young professional, Turck convinced the project’s stakeholders to pursue a new program he had just learned about, LEED certification. Through his efforts, the project became the first LEED-certified building in the state. Following a brief period in Texas, Turck returned to Minnesota and joined the St. Paul-based BWBR, becoming more proficient in exterior detailing, building science, and a variety of building types.

In 2006, former Vice President Al Gore released An Inconvenient Truth and the 2030 Challenge launched, making the year a pivotal one for Turck. Both movements opened his eyes to the impacts of climate change and the effects buildings have on the environment. He convinced BWBR to sign on to the 2030 Challenge the following year, and he served on the planning committee when Minnesota passed the Sustainable Buildings 2030 legislation in 2009. His commitment to battling climate change has continued to grow. He is a climate reality leader, following training in Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, and has presented to more than 2,000 people. In December 2018, Turck attended the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland, with business leaders from Fortune 500 companies and small enterprises.

Turck’s involvement with AIA began in 2002, when he helped found the Young Architects Forum in Fargo. Later, he served as the forum’s president for a year. As a member of AIA Minnesota, he has served as co-chair of its committee on the environment for four years and represented the chapter in workshops and meetings with community groups. On behalf of AIA, he testified in front of the Minnesota House Energy and Climate Finance and Policy Committee.

As the father of three young children, Turck is driven to provide them with the opportunity to grow up in a better world. He faces the world’s most pressing issues with persistence and inquisitiveness, inspiring others to join him on his journey.


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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Don Wong

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Michael J. Burns Architects

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Don Wong