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Meet the Architect

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 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.
2012 Gold Achievement Award2012 Gold Achievement Award Best Detached Home on the Boards

Professional Activities

  • 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.

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