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  • 31 Oct 2019 1:33 PM | Christine R Henry

    Welcome to the Fall Issue of VAN.  Feel free to use this link if you just want to scroll through all the stories directly on the website, or take a look below for highlights of the issue with links directly to each story.  

    We are gearing up for the annual meeting this summer in San Antonio, May 6-9.  In this issue we have the call for papers, deadlines for fellowships and awards to attend the conference, and also nominations for our awards.  There is a feature article on the Miami Vernacular Project from Ridout recipient Jose Vasquez and several announcements for conferences and workshops. In addition, we have lots of member news, from profiles of board members to honors, publications, and presentations.

    In publications news, the Fall Bibliography is packed with useful resources that contribute to vernacular studies.  If you are thinking of contributing to the scholarly conversation, consider submitting to the VAF Journal Buildings & Landscapes. Thanks as always for the contributions to the newsletter, love to share all the wonderful work our community is doing!

    Christine Henry, Newsletter Editor

  • 31 Oct 2019 11:10 AM | Christine R Henry

    Vernacular Architecture Forum 2020 Annual Meeting 

    Vernacular Landscapes of San Antonio and Central Texas 

    May 6 to May 9, 2020 in San Antonio, Texas

    The Vernacular Architecture Forum invites paper and poster proposals for its 41st Annual ConferenceVernacular Landscapes of San Antonio and Central Texas, May 6 to May 9, 2020 in San Antonio, Texas. The paper and poster sessions will be on Saturday, May 9. They may address topics relating to vernacular and everyday buildings, sites, or cultural landscapes worldwide and how people use these sites. Submissions on all relevant topics are welcome. We encourage papers and posters focusing on vernacular architecture and cultural landscapes of Texas, as well as issues of displacement, migration, acculturation, revival architecture, and African Americans in slavery and freedom in borderlands.  

    Students and young professionals may apply for the Pamela H. Simpson Presenter’s Fellowships offering support of up to $500 to presenting papers at VAF’s annual conference.


    For more information, please see the VAF website
  • 31 Oct 2019 11:00 AM | Christine R Henry

    VAF has several opportunities to assist students and colleagues in allied professions with attending the annual VAF meeting in San Antonio.  For details on the available awards, see below.

    The Access Award supports first-time attendance at the VAF's annual meeting by scholars and students with limited professional exposure to the fields of architectural history and vernacular studies, as well as by practitioners and independent scholars in the field. Deadline: January 5, 2020

    Ambassadors Awards provide funding for faculty-sponsored student groups (both undergraduate and graduate) from North American institutions, to attend VAF annual conferences. Deadline: January 5, 2020

    The Simpson Presenter's Fellowship allocates funding to offer partial financial assistance to students and young professionals presenting papers at VAF annual conferences. November 3, 2019Please see the Call for Papers for instructions. 

  • 31 Oct 2019 10:15 AM | Christine R Henry

    VAF has a number of awards to promote and support vernacular architectural fieldwork and scholarship, as well as the dissemination of research.  There are a few awards that have upcoming deadlines for nominations:

    The Award for Advocacy encourages citizen-based advocacy by recognizing exemplary efforts and achievements on behalf of our vernacular built heritage.   Deadline: January 3, 2020

    The Catherine W. Bishir Prize is awarded annually to the scholarly article from a juried North American publication that has made the most significant contribution to the study of vernacular architecture and cultural landscape. Deadline: February 1, 2020

    The Paul E. Buchanan Award recognizes contributions to the study and preservation of vernacular architecture and the cultural landscape that do not take the form of books or published work. Deadline: January 5, 2020

    The Abbott Lowell Cummings Award, named for the founding president of the VAF, is awarded annually to the newly-published book that has made the most significant contribution to the study of vernacular architecture and cultural landscapes of North America. Deadline: December 15, 2019

  • 31 Oct 2019 10:10 AM | Christine R Henry

    To honor founding member Orlando Ridout V, who died in 2013, the Vernacular Architecture Forum has established a fieldwork fellowship in his name. Orlando, a mentor to so many of us, asked that donations in his memory be made to the VAF to support students’ and VAF members’  fieldwork training and activities. To fulfill his request, the Orlando Ridout V Fieldwork Fellowship was created, combining contributions to the Ridout memorial fund with the former Fund for Fieldwork, established by a generous gift from long-time VAF member Thomas Carter in 2012.

    The Orlando Ridout V Fieldwork Fellowship will support and encourage students and VAF members in their field-based research and documentation projects, and in their efforts to learn and conduct fieldwork through apprenticeships, field schools, and continuing education and training projects.

    The guidelines for the Orlando Ridout V Fieldwork Fellowship allow all VAF members, as well as students participating in field school programs, to apply to the VAF Ridout Fieldwork Fellowship Committee for monies to support their field-based projects and training opportunities.

    Support is available in five categories:

    1.     Field school directors (VAF members) may apply for grants of up to $1000 to support their programs and/or provide financial aid to participants;

    2.     Students participating in field schools or other training opportunities may apply for stipends of up to $500 to attend such programs (prior VAF membership not required);

    3.     VAF members may apply for grants of up to $500 to support continuing education and professional training activities.

    4.     VAF members may apply for grants of up to $1000 for support of fieldwork activities related to the pursuit of academic degrees;

    5.     VAF members may apply for grants of up to $1000 to support fieldwork activities not related to fulfillment of academic degree requirements. 

    *Projects that explore and document cultural diversity are especially welcome.

    For more detailed information on submission process, deadlines, and procedures, please see the VAF website page on the Orlando Ridout V Fieldwork Fellowships.

  • 31 Oct 2019 10:00 AM | Christine R Henry

    Do you have a great syllabus for Vernacular Architecture?  Would you love to share and exchange ideas?  The Education Committee of the VAF is making a call for new and revised syllabi for the VAF Syllabus Exchange.  Please send submissions to Sam Palfreyman for posting on the VAF web. 

    Editor’s note: I am not only the editor of VAN but also a junior faculty member at the University of Mary Washington’s Department of Historic Preservation.  In my first four years teaching I have designed or revamped multiple classes to integrate the ideas and skills of vernacular architecture studies in the classroom and in the field, and I don’t think I could have done this without the amazing generosity of VAF members. I have used the syllabus exchange to be inspired by methods, approaches, and readings that are being used at schools around the country.  This resource has felt like I have all of VAF as mentors to me and my students.  So please share your syllabi so that we can continue this wonderful exchange of ideas.  Thanks!  Christine Henry

  • 31 Oct 2019 9:00 AM | Christine R Henry

    by Jose R.Vasquez, Orlando V. Ridout Fellowship Awardee 2018

    The Miami Fieldwork Project funded by an Orlando Ridout V Fieldwork Fellowship facilitated reflective and hands-on learning opportunities related to the study and documentation of Miami’s vernacular. According to cultural historian Robert Z. Melnik  "there are many truths in any landscape.”[1] This statement succinctly conveys the objectives of my project to find some those “truths” on the layered places that comprise Metropolitan Miami. During the project’s duration issues related to architectural heritage, memory, economic mobility, and immigration contextualized classroom discussions among students and provided an enriching intellectual background for the fieldwork project. These conversations deepened as we engaged community members and continued throughout the year as students worked on research assignments and the production of survey drawings. The project acquired a definitive cross-disciplinary and collaborative aspect by involving students from other courses I was teaching such as architecture design and history of architecture. The students’ enthusiasm was evident as the experience transformed our traditional classroom learning format. We visited communities such as Little Haiti and Coconut Grove, the latter one of South Florida’s earliest settlements established by Bahamians immigrants, to get acquainted with their history and current issues affecting historic preservation and cultural heritage. I counted with the assistance of Dade Heritage Trust, the leading preservation organization in Miami Dade county and the  Greater St. Paul A.M.E. church. The congregation owns several properties, among them several historic “shotguns”, in a neighborhood known as “Village West” in Coconut Grove. Although shotguns were amongst the most common residential  typologies throughout  Miami’s African American neighborhoods, some of the best preserved are found in this community.

    The Miami Vernacular Project features an online platform which will disseminate the project results, including the publication of drawings and other resources related to Miami’s vernacular architecture. It will operate as a digital archive to accommodate future research and documentation fieldwork projects. As an educator my overarching interest has been to nurture a new generation of activists to work on the preservation of our heritage. The VAF has encouraged me to continue researching the architectural history of marginalized communities in Miami and propelled me to redesign my curriculum to facilitate new understandings regarding our history and identity. Fieldwork assignments are ideal examples of action-based learning projects that are becoming increasingly relevant in American education.  It has been a privilege to honor the memory and lifework of an outstanding educator, gifted scholar, and passionate historic preservation advocate.  

    1. Melnick “Are We There Yet? Travels and Tribulations in the Cultural Landscape’  Cultural Landscapes: Balancing Nature and Heritage in Preservation Practice. 197

  • 31 Oct 2019 8:00 AM | Christine R Henry

    by Christine Henry, VAN editor

    Do you use Instagram to share buildings and landscapes?  Do you have a blog or podcast about vernacular architecture?  These platforms are increasingly part of our everyday lives and we would love to hear how you use them for your vernacular studies.  If you use any kind of digital media to document and share your work, VAF would love to hear about your experiences for a series of articles in the 2020 VAN about how members use these new tools.  Please drop me a line at VAN editor and feel free to check out the VAF instagram feed and my instagram page as well.  

  • 31 Oct 2019 5:10 AM | Christine R Henry

    Please join our alumni, students, and friends as we gather for a symposium featuring paper presentations in honor of Richard Guy Wilson’s scholarship, teaching, and mentorship, and as we celebrate the Department of Architectural History’s present and future.

    Fri. 11.15.19
    Paper Sessions presented by Architectural History alumni and students, followed by remarks by Richard Guy Wilson, Commonwealth Professor of Architectural History. Join friends and classmates for architectural history conviviality on Friday evening.

    Sat. 11.16.19
    Paper Sessions presented by Architectural History alumni and students, followed by a celebratory reception honoring Richard Guy Wilson at the newly restored Rotunda.

    More information about the event and registration will be coming soon - For up to date information, visit www.arch.virginia.edu/events/rgw-symposium-fall-2019 

    We look forward to seeing you all in Charlottesville in November!

  • 31 Oct 2019 5:05 AM | Christine R Henry

    Library Architecture in North America Workshop

    Madison, WI

    March 26-28, 2020

    Department of Art History, Madison, WI, USA, March 26 - 28, 2020

    Submission Deadline: 11/25/2019

    Keynote speaker: Kenneth Breisch, USC

    Organizer: Maxi Schreiber (Darmstadt/Madison)

    Today, the United States of America has almost fourteen times as many Libraries as McDonalds restaurants. The tax supported Free Public Library is an essential part of American culture and, in the words of the architect Rem Koolhaas, "the last of the uncontested moral universes". Academic libraries and research libraries are equally important to students and scholars and remain an indispensable part of American education and campus life. As an institution, the library serves as part of the cultural memory of the nation.

    At the same time, libraries today are changing. If, for a long time the hierarchy and relationship of librarian, book and reader were the driving factors of library design, today library architecture oscillates between open work and meeting spaces and utterly specialized spaces. University libraries like the James Hunt Library (2009–2013 by Snøhetta) in North Carolina show this new quality of high specification to students’ needs in the design process. Here, interactive spaces, specialized furniture, 360 degree projection, high tech screens, media and design laboratories, sound proof rooms for music recording and highly mechanized equipment are finding its way into library architecture. Spaces like these are possible due to an economization on shelving space, in the form of highly compressed stacks, where books are stored and “bookbots” (robots) are unimaginably fast in retrieving books and delivering them to the front desk. One could debate whether virtual shelf browsing is comparable to “physical” browsing, or, if this invention marks a return to the time of closed stacks. Examples like the James Hunt Library show how today’s library design can be dominated by new virtual possibilities as well as work and communication processes rather than book shelfs.

    In addition to this, commercialization in the form of cafés and library shops has been introduced to public library architecture. Further, Amazon comes into the picture. In Berkeley, Ypsilanti and Madison, among many other cities, Amazon pick up stores are oftentimes located temptingly close to university libraries, housed in prominent university buildings on American campuses and benefit student members with unlimited access to streaming, free item shipping and even free audio book and e-book access.

    This workshop seeks new approaches to the study of library architecture. Taking place at the Department of Art History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from March 26 to March 28, it welcomes contributions that address the following themes:

    - the library as a building type

    - frameworks for narrating the history of library architecture theoretically and architecturally

    - the change of the cityscape with the architectural appearance of iconic and unique library buildings vs less appearing library buildings

    - the effect of architecture on public debates when new library buildings are designed

    - possibilities of historic preservation

    - the role of historic preservation when it comes to building annexes to existing structures

    - the involvement of community groups in library architecture and the design process

    - the social function of public spaces in contrast to academic spaces

    - city scape, environment and the public sphere

    This workshop seeks to stimulate discussions about architectural history as well as the social, political and economic role of libraries and the public realm. While the focus of this workshop is on North American library architecture, proposals that look at international topics are encouraged. Scholars from all fields, as well as librarians, architects, journalists, teachers and volunteers are welcome to contribute. The preferred format would be a pre circulated paper. Interested participants from outside academia are welcome to contact the organizer about alternative formats such as oral presentations, PechaKucha etc.

    The workshop is organized with a keynote lecture by Kenneth Breisch, discussions of pre circulated papers, a panel discussion and an open session. The cost for domestic flights and flights for participants from Canada and accommodation will be covered by the sponsor of the workshop. The funding for this workshop will be provided by the Volkswagen Foundation.

    Submission Guidelines:

    Deadline for submission of application with abstract (300 words max.) and short biography (100 words max.): November 25, 2019.

    Deadline for submission of accepted papers (in English, 4000 words max.): February 20, 2020. Alternative contributions should not exceed 20 minutes.

    Please send your proposals (as PDF file) to: mschreiber4@wisc.edu

    March 26 to March 28, Department of Art History, Madison, WI

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