Tour spotlights architect-designed homes

One of the homes that will be featured on the upcoming AIA-MN tour. Credit: Photo courtesy of Joe Michl Studio

For anyone who’s in the market for a new home, is looking for remodeling or building inspiration, or simply has an interest in design, the Homes by Architects tour might be just what they’re after.

The tour, which is put on by the American Institute of Architects Minnesota, runs Sept. 19 and 20 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day at homes across the Twin Cities and the surrounding area. Tickets cost $20 per person and are available at each home on the tour.

The tour includes 20 homes that span as far southeast as Hastings, run northwest up to Plymouth and back down to Waconia. Several are in Minneapolis, St. Paul and their first-ring suburbs. It’s self-guided, so plan accordingly to make sure to see all you like if you’re considering attending. 

The designing architects for each home will be available on the sites of their creations during the tour so attendees can get backstories on the structures, ask questions, and get ideas for their own builds or remodeling projects. 

“The mission of the tour is to showcase the work that architects can do for homeowners,” said Angie McKinley, program director for American Institute of Architects Minnesota.

All but one of the five Minneapolis homes on the tour are clustered around Lake Harriet and the city’s southwest side. The loner is west of downtown near Theodore Wirth Park, plus one is just outside Minneapolis in St. Paul’s St. Anthony Park Neighborhood.

Despite the rather condensed area represented in Minneapolis on the tour, organizers say the tour will include an array of architectural styles.

“You’ll see traditional homes, some contemporary architecture, some modernist architecture,” McKinley said. 

The properties also vary in value. One Minneapolis home is valued at about $430,000, while another is worth nearly $1 million.

However, this tour isn’t necessarily those hoping to make a purchase right away. Most homes on the tour aren’t currently on the market. 

The Homes by Architects Tour, which is in its eighth year, has a different motive from its peers. 

Other similar events like the Parade of Homes — the massive metro-wide showcase of builders, remodeling projects and materials companies — aim to offer inspiration while promoting brands.

The American Institute of Architects’ tour, however, serves to show the importance of those represented in the professional association, specifically its residential architects. 

Every architect who designed a home on the tour is an American Institute of Architects member. However, the firms for which they work vary. Some are environmentally focused, others combine architecture and construction in the same company, and a couple are small design studios. 

Tour organizers say their aim is to educate the general public on how working with a professional architect has benefits when it comes to project management skill, value and design talent.

McKinley said architects’ value goes well past just their aesthetic design skills — they can also help to make a space more functional and better to live in.

“On the Homes by Architects Tour you will observe first-hand how working with an architect can transform ordinary living spaces into responsive, tailored, domestic environments using a variety of design solutions,” the association writes on its website to potential attendees. 


Minneapolis homes on tour 

Here’s a list of addresses for all homes on the tour in Minneapolis, whether it’s a remodeling project or a new build, and the architecture firm behind each:

— 15 Xerxes Ave. S. (New construction, EJ Hansen)

— 3836 Sheridan Ave. S. (New construction, Peterssen/Keller Architecture)

— 4700 W Lake Harriet Pkwy. (Remodel, Kurt Baum & Associates)

— 4820 Penn Ave. S. (Remodel, Partners 4, Design)

— 4320 Dupont Ave. S. (Remodel, Nguyen Architects, Inc.)


If you go …

Homes by Architects Tour

When: Saturday, Sept. 19 & Sunday, Sept. 20, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Where: 20 homes throughout the Twin Cities