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meet the architect

Gene Nicolelli, Jr., AIA, NCARB, CAPS
Gene Nicolelli, Jr.Principal of NICOLELLI ARCHITECTS


I have been practicing architecture for over 35 years with a majority of my experience specializing in housing. I was fortunate to have gained invaluable, broad based knowledge in home design during my fifteen years in Southern California working with housing developers, marketing consultants and individual homeowners. In a diverse and design savvy market this required designing homes that would appeal to a wide variety of homebuyers consisting of first time, move-up, and empty-nesters. In 1995 I returned to my home state of Minnesota and started my own practice designing a wide range of projects for residential and business clients

As I have evolved as an architect I have become very interested in universal design. After researching the subject I noticed that, although you could find house plans that were called "accessible", the majority of the plans stopped at wider doors and a shower with no floor curb. That inspired me to create home plans that captured the true essence of universal design. I wanted to demonstrate how universal design equates to good design and would appeal to a wide range of homebuyers.


I received my Bachelor of Architecture degree from North Dakota State University. I am licensed in Minnesota and California and am certified with the National Council of Architectural Registration Board (NCARB). NCARB enables the certificate holder reciprocal licensure in most states. Additionally, I am a Certified Aging - in - Place Specialist (CAPS) certified by the National Association of Home Builders 50+ Housing Council.

  • Past chair of the AIA Minnesota Housing Advocacy Committee. This committee addresses affordable housing issues in Minnesota and organizes an annual design charrette to assist non-profit organizations lacking the funding to hire an architect.
  • Past member of the AIA Minnesota Achitecture in the Schools Committee. As a committee member, we would give individual presentations to fifth graders from various schools about the subject of architecture.
  • Speaker presenting seminars on "Aging-in-Place" incorporating the principles of universal design.
  • Speaker presenting a seminar on "Housing in Rural Communities" sponsored by the Minnesota Design Team.
  • A participant providing housing expertise for the Minnesota Design Team's Roseau, Minnesota Design Charrette. The team consisted of architects, landscape architects, planners and engineers.
  • National Association of Home Builders 50+ Council - Best of 50+ Housing Awards ◦2012 Gold Achievement Award - Best Detached Home on the Boards
  • Best In America Living Award ◦2004 Silver Award - HUD Secretary Award of Excellence
  • Minnesota Housing Finance Agency "Tomorrow's Homes Today" Competition ◦1998 Third Place
  • Pacific Coast Builders Conference - Gold Nugget Award (Design Architect while at Richard D. Lewis Architects, Costa Mesa, CA) ◦1993 Grand Award - Best Single Family Detached Home over 3,000 S.F.
    • 1990 Merit Award - Best Community Site Plan 100 Acres or Less
    • 1989 Grand Award - Best Single Family Detached Home 1,500 S.F. to 2,000 S.F.
    • 1989 Merit Award - Best Single Family Detached Home 2,001 S.F. to 2,500 S.F.

2012 Gold Achievement Award
Best Detached Home on the Boards