Joan M. Soranno, FAIA, is an award-winning architect specializing in cultural and religious architecture at HGA, Inc. in Minneapolis. With colleague John Cook, FAIA, she has created a small design studio within the large-firm structure. The studio approach serves as an incubator for innovative design, in which her projects are aesthetically driven and technically challenging.
Among her highly regarded work is Lakewood Garden Mausoleum in Minneapolis, which has won 22 national and international design awards and was featured on the cover of Architect magazine in October 2012. Also noteworthy are Bigelow Chapel for the United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities in New Brighton, Minnesota, which won the AIA Honor Award for Architecture; B’nai Israel Synagogue in Rochester, Minnesota; the Laird Norton Addition at the Winona County History Museum in Winona, Minnesota; and the Museum of the North at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.
Soranno has spoken frequently about architecture and design at national symposiums, including “Museum and Architecture: Issues for the 21st Century” at the Getty Center; “Constructing the Ineffable: Contemporary Sacred Architecture” at Yale University; “Innovative Uses of Wood to Evoke a Sense of Spirituality at Religious Facilities” at MIT; and “Building for the 22nd Century: Sacred Architecture” at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. She also has served as a juror for national awards programs, including the 2013 Progressive Architecture (PA) Awards, AIA Chicago Honor Awards and AIA Philadelphia Honor Awards, and has taught at the University of Minnesota.
She has been published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Architectural Record, Architect. She was featured as an “Emerging Professional” in AIArchitect in 2011, and was named “Artist of the Year” in the Minneapolis Star Tribune in 2012.
Soranno has a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Notre Dame, and is a member of the Design Excellence Program-National Peer and the AIA College of Fellows. She has been a design principal with HGA since 1993.