The 15 Best Architects In Minneapolis

Minneapolis spoon bridge

Who are the best architects in Minneapolis? Here are 15 candidates. Vote for your favorite below and tell us who we missed in the comments.


An architectural tour of the Twin Cities would undoubtedly include Frank Gehry’s Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota and French architect Jean Nouvel’s cantilevered endless bridge at the Guthrie Theater. However, many modern Minneapolis architects prefer buildings that make a more simple statement. The Minnesota aesthetic focuses on function over form, restraint in design, and quality of construction. No matter their tastes in style, an outstanding architect integrates incredible vision, proven technical skills, and a client-collaborative approach.

Who are the architects who meet these criteria? We’ve curated a list of the 15 best architects in Minneapolis/St. Paul, presented here in no particular order. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite in the poll below. We feel our list is comprehensive, but if we’ve left anyone off the list, let us know in the comments.

vince3Vincent James
In 1995, Vincent founded VJAA after practicing independently with firms in Minnesota and New York. In addition to his work as the principal and CFO of his firm, he has taught at some of the premier schools in the country. He has been an adjunct professor at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, the Favrot Visiting Chair in Architecture at Tulane University, and is currently Cass Gilbert Professor in Practice at the University of Minnesota School of Architecture. Vincent received his own Master of Architecture from the University of Wisconsin.

MythiliMythili Thiagarajan
Mythili is the founding principal of Auromira Architects, where she enjoys working very closely with clients providing hands-on design leadership and project management. She has 14 years of experience working for firms in the Twin Cities and India, gaining expertise on residential, commercial and healthcare projects. She received her Bachelor of Architecture from Anna University in India, and her master’s degree from the University of Minnesota. A LEED Accredited Professional, she specializes in sustainable design and green building.

Meghan KellMeghan Kell Cornell
With 15 years of residential design experience with SALA Architects under her belt, Meghan founded Kell Architects in 2010. Following in her father’s footsteps, hers is the next generation of Kell owned architecture firms. Meghan serves as President-Elect of the local American Institute of Architects chapter board, and she has served on national AIA board committees as well. She earned her Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Tom_Meyer-MSR-788x525Thomas Meyer
As a veteran of his field with 42 years experience, Thomas has gained a stellar reputation for his historic preservation and work with the award-winning Mill City Museum complex. He is a founding principal of MSR Design, and his career encompasses historic district planning, building rehabilitation and restoration, and adaptive reuse projects. For 25 years, Thomas taught design at the University of Minnesota’s School of Architecture, and was the first recipient of the Ralph Rapson Award for Distinguished Teaching. The past president of AIA Minnesota holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Minnesota.

abbemar_1408741272_Julie SnowJulie Snow
Distinguished as both a practitioner and academic, Julie has taught architecture at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard, the University of Southern California, and the University of Minnesota College of Design. In 1995, she founded Julie Snow Architects and continues the design trajectory of the firm as Snow Kreilich Architects. She received the Ralph Rapson Award for Distinguished Teaching, and has been recognized with AIA Honor Awards, the Holcim North American Bronze Award, and a Progressive Architecture Design Award, among others. Julie lectures in both professional and academic settings.

PK_Bio_Images_GabeGabriel Keller
As a teenager, Gabriel lived abroad in Belgium, immersing himself in European culture. Gabe received his education at Cornell University, studying classical architecture and design in Rome. He went on to spend three years in Soho, later returning home to Minneapolis to pursue his passion for residential design. In 2009, Gabriel co-founded Peterssen/Keller Architecture with a desire to refine his own architectural style.

J_Millea-webJackie Millea
Jackie is a former president of the Minnesota chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers. After more than 15 years of interior design practice, Jackie returned to school and earned her Master of Architecture from the University of Minnesota. Pursuing a greater understanding of how design is connected to wellness and our overall health and relationships, Jackie is leading changes in how we house our aging population in the future. Jackie is a founding partner of Shelter Architecture.

David-HeideDavid Heide
Architectural history has been a passion of David’s, starting long before he became an architect himself. He studied classical languages at Macalester College, and received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Drake University. He completed post graduate studies at both the University of Minnesota and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.  After ten years of work on historic preservation projects for MacDonald & Mack Architects, he founded David Heide Design Studio to better carry on his endeavor to preserve our historic treasures.

peter_portrait_150Peter Carlsen
An artist as well as an architect, Peter received his BA in art from Antioch College and B.Arch with honors from the University of Minnesota. He also holds a teaching certificate from the University of Iowa graduate study of art program. Peter has served on the board of the American Institute of Architects St. Paul chapter, and is also a furniture designer. Along with partner Sylvia Frank, he is a principal of Carlsen & Frank Architects.

Jeff MurphyJeff Murphy
Jeff is the son of a construction laborer, and he began drawing houses at the age of six (they often were run over with monster trucks). He studied art and architecture in San Diego and Minneapolis. For eleven years, Jeff worked for an architecture firm in Wayzata, before founding Murphy & Co. with his wife. He is passionate about traditional architecture, and is a member of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art and the Leaders of Design Council.

staff-andreaAndrea Swan
At a young age, Andrea developed a deep love for architecture while traveling throughout Europe to visit family. She earned her Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Notre Dame, including a year at the School of Architecture’s Rome Studies Center. She spent several years at the renowned firm of Cooper, Robertson & Partners in New York City. In 2009, the classically trained architect launched Swan Architecture, where she specializes in residential architecture services.

Joseph Metzler
Joseph is a principal of SALA Architects, one of the region’s premier architecture firms. He grew up in a family of custom home builders, gaining practical knowledge through first-hand work in carpentry and related skills. In addition to his construction background, Joseph has received numerous design awards and his work has been featured in publications like Better Homes and Gardens and Architectural Record. He received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Minnesota, and has diverse interests in Modernism, community-enhancing design, and historic preservation.

C-R_Profile_PaulPaul Udris
An avid traveler, Paul spent a year living in India prior to his graduate studies and and is fascinated with regional expressions of architecture and design. He recently spent a great deal of time in Morocco, working directly with local artisans and builders to design and build houses while also designing custom tile patterns, furniture and light fixtures. His experience includes both architecture and interiors work and he believes that the two fields are inseparable for thoughtful design. The Massachusetts native received a liberal arts degree from Brown University and his Master of Architecture from Yale University.

bio_charlieCharlie Simmons
Charlie knew that he wanted to be an architect by the ripe age of ten, and spent his free time sketching the grand Victorian houses of Summit Avenue on loose-leaf paper. An avid winter sportsman, he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture at Montana State University, where he also studied interior design, history and back-country skiing. After school, he spent nearly a decade working for a nationally renowned design firm. A self-described Modernist with a passion for residential architecture, Charlie became one of the founding principals of Swan+Simmons Architecture and then Charlie & Co. Design Ltd.

johnJohn Idstrom II
John is a founder of Partners 4 Design, where he is known as the idea man. His design philosophy is that all successful projects begin with a relationship, and he works to find a common language with clients to translate concepts into tangible designs. At 15 years old, he was smitten by great architecture during a trip to Europe, and turned his love of great design into his life’s work. John graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Architecture, and also earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and business administration from Gustavus Adolphus College.

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