“Inspiration and education” inform the tour of homes by architects
New homes represent most of the stops on the upcoming AIA Minnesota Homes by Architects tour, but a notable exception overlooks the corner of 65th Street and Logan Street in Richfield. The former farmhouse dates back to the 1930s and has bragging rights as one of the city’s first homes.
The recent remodel and addition has given it new life. The project doubled the size of the kitchen, improved the layout of the main level, added a guest room and bathroom, and created new access to a new deck, among other upgrades.
Architect Edward Eichten, owner of Minneapolis-based ERE Architecture, said the project meets the needs of clients who want to host large gatherings. Upgrades include installation of a walk-in basement, allowing for easy movement of supplies from the basement to the kitchen.
““They store a lot of the glassware and stuff for these parties in the basement of their house, so to set things up before the event and to help with cleanup, there’s a little buffet,” Eichten said. “This was something they really wanted. Not many people use small food trucks these days.”
The Richfield home will be on display this weekend as part of the 16th annual AIA Minnesota Homes by Architects event, which showcases the residential design talents of local architects. Other homes are scattered throughout the metro area and beyond, from Chisago to Red Wing.
Ten of the homes featured at the Sept. 23-24 event will be open for in-person tours and four will be available for virtual tours, according to AIA Minnesota. Twelve are new construction and two feature remodels and additions.
Homes are not for sale. Instead, as part of the event, the architects will be present in the homes they have designed, where they can meet with members of the public, answer questions, and guide them through the design process.
“It’s all about inspiration and education,” Anne Mayhew, public outreach coordinator for AIA Minnesota, said in an interview. “We’re not trying to sell homes to people. We hope people will go on a tour to see these different homes and talk to the architects and designers and take away some of their own ideas for their homes.”
Each year, AIA Minnesota puts out a call for architects to submit homes for the tour. This process usually begins in February or March, Mayhew said. Among other requirements, the designer must be a member of AIA Minnesota.
Sustainability and energy efficiency are common themes in this year’s tour. The event highlights homes equipped with everything from geothermal energy to solar panels. For its part, the home in Richfield features a green roof, native plant landscaping and other eco-friendly features.
The client wanted to “respect the neighborhood and the history of the house,” Eichten said. We did not overshadow the original house with an addition.
From an architect’s perspective, the Homes by Architects tour represents an unusual opportunity for designers to share their work with the public, Eichten said.
“Usually we film them and put them on the website or shoot some videos. But it’s not often that we share the actual location with tour leaders for all these special projects.
Supporters of the 16th Annual Homes by Architects event include Andersen Windows, Braden Construction, Dovetail, Ferguson, Haag Homes, Howard Homes, Innoison Design, Colby Twin Cities Gallery, Leach Audio Video, Minnesota Fine Homes, Bella Windows, and Redstone Company Builders. Refined, LLC, Ruth Johnson Interiors, Showcase Renovations, Stinson Builders, Synergy Products, Western Systems, Yardscapes, and White Oaks Savanna.
Tickets cost $25 to purchase online, $35 for on-site cash transactions. $10 access-only tickets to the four virtual home tours and accompanying online content are also available. Tickets are free for children under 5 and $10 for youth and students.
Advance tickets and more details are at HomesByArchitects.org.