Paul E. Buchanan Award 

Paul BuchananThe Paul E. Buchanan Award was instituted by VAF in 1993 to recognize contributions to the study and preservation of vernacular architecture and the cultural landscape that do not take the form of books or published work.  Hundreds of studies, reports, documentation projects, restoration plans, National Register nominations, exhibits, video/digital media productions and public programs are completed each year without the benefit of distribution or recognition beyond the limited audience for which they were commissioned.  Nonetheless, many of these efforts can serve to inform and inspire us all.

Named for Paul E. Buchanan who served for over thirty years as the Director of Architectural Research at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Buchanan set the standard for architectural fieldwork in America and inspired many VAF members in the rewards of fieldwork. This award honors the valuable work that most of our members and professional associates perform.


Past Buchanan Award Winners

2020 Buchanan Award Recipients

The Vernacular Architecture Forum’s 2020 Buchanan Award honors two exemplary projects that illustrate the highest standards for meticulous documentation and rigorous study of historic vernacular architecture and cultural landscapes.

“Traditional Patterned Brickwork Buildings of New Jersey” by Architectural Historian Robert W. Craig, of the New Jersey State Historic Preservation Office.

“The Asian Americans in Los Angeles Historic Context Statements” and the associated National Register of Historic Places’ Multiple Property Documentation Form by the Los Angeles City Planning Office of Historic Resources

Please visit the 2020 Buchanan Award Recipient page for more details about why these individuals were selected.

2021 Call for Nominations

The Vernacular Architecture Forum seeks nominations for the 2021 Paul E. Buchanan Award

The application deadline is January 24, 2021.

The Vernacular Architecture Forum seeks nominations for the Paul E. Buchanan Award. Send your entries to buchananaward@vafweb.org or if you know of a project that appears to qualify, please encourage an application or send us the contact information.

Exceptional projects that set new standards or model innovative practices, completed in the last two years, are eligible for consideration and may include, but are not limited to:

  • Architectural Recording Projects (including HABS/HAER/HALS)
  • Historic Structures Reports
  • Cultural Resource Surveys
  • Historic Designation Studies (including National Register and National Historic Landmark, or the equivalent)
  • Preservation or Conservation Plans
  • Restoration or Rehabilitation Projects that express the significance of the resource or illustrate novel ways the resource has been preserved
  • Furnishing Plans and Installations
  • Exhibits and Other Temporary Installations
  • Permanent Museum Exhibits
  • Visual Arts Presentations (e.g. drawing, painting, photography, 3-D media)
  • Film and Video Presentations
  • Computer Applications and Modeling
  • Educational and Interpretive Programs
  • Symposia, Conferences, and Public Events
  • Websites
  • Other Projects or Programs that contribute to the study and preservation of vernacular architecture or cultural landscapes

Nomination materials must include the following:

  • Cover letter that includes the name of the project, the date of completion, authors or participants, purpose of the project, the significance of the resource(s), the person(s) submitting the nomination, and an explanation of how the project sets new standards or models innovative practices or otherwise contributes to the study and preservation of vernacular architecture or cultural landscapes
  • Electronic copy of the project to be considered

Submit nomination materials electronically in pdf format to buchananaward@vafweb.org. (Please, no links) Files should be no larger than 15 MB, but please contact the committee if other formats and/or sizes are needed so we may make alternate arrangements.

The application deadline for 2021 Buchanan Award is January 24, 2021.

Buchanan Award Committee
Marianne Hurley, chair

Catherine Lavoie

Phil Herrington



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