Conference Guide Books and Publications

Each year the VAF meets in a different location for its annual conference.  Extensive research and fieldwork is done in preparation for the meeting, which results in highly detailed guide books for the city or region of the conference. This page highlights the publications that come out of that research with links to download or purchase, as well as the library locations of the unpublished guidebooks.

Guidebooks for these tours contained copyrighted materials that were limited in their permissions to reuse. Thus they aren't available to the general public, but they can be found via the past conference website pages to members only.

2015 Chicago, Illinois

Out of the Loop: Vernacular Architecture Forum Chicago

Virginia B. Price, David A. Spatz, and D. Bradford Hunt, eds. (Chicago: Agate Midway, 2015)

A fascinating exploration of Chicago, this is an in-depth tour beyond architectural icons and into the city’s contested communities. Here the built environment remains open to new meanings. Neighborhoods hold pieces of civic structure, communal meaning, and cultural definitions. Some vernacular buildings, like the bungalow, are ready-made for occupancy and commonly produced, while still others are professionally designed. VAF not only addresses authorship but also adaptation as generations pass. In these transitions, a city steadily comes into view. To purchase visit

2014 Galloway, New Jersey
Down Jersey: From Bayshore to Seashore
Janet W. Foster, Conference Chair, Robert W. Craig, Editor, and Kate Nearpass Ogden, Photo Editor

This book focuses on the vernacular architecture and landscapes of southern New Jersey, from ca. 1700 to 2000, including sites in Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland and Salem Counties, ranging across southern New Jersey from the Delaware Bay to the Pine Barrens to the state's Atlantic beaches.

Download .pdf here

2013 Gaspé-Percé, Quebec, Canada

Tania Martin, ed.

This bilingual and highly-illustrated guide is a tool that can be used to interpret the sites included in the VAF tours. It guides the viewer towards the perspective encompassed by the Forum’s general theme – how religion and the economy have been woven into the fabric of Gaspé’s cultural landscapes. The content of this guide is divided into seven booklets. They correspond to the seven major sectors through which conference attendees traveled: Douglastown, Pointe-St-Pierre- Malbaie-Bougainville-Barachois and Val-d’Espoir on the southern tour and Forillon Peninsula, Rivière-au-Renard, L’Anse-au-Griffon and Pointe-Navarre-St. Majorique. Each booklet contains a general overview of the sector followed by a presentation of the specific sites and buildings located there, seen from religious and economic perspectives. The participants' workbook and seven field guides are available for download at Université Laval.

2012 Madison, Wisconsin

From Mining to Farm Fields to Ethnic Communities: Buildings and Landscapes of Southwestern Wisconsin: A Field Guide to the Vernacular Architecture Forum Annual Conference, 7 June 2012 

Anna Vemer Andrzejewski, Arnold R. Alanen, and Sarah Fayen Scarlett, eds. (Madison, Wisc.: Department of Art History and Department of Landscape Architecture, 2012) 

This guidebook includes materials prepared for the 7 June 2012 tour, which took participants to rural southwestern Wisconsin to view the dairying landscape, remnants of the industrial landscape (centered on lead mining), and ethnic building types, techniques and landscapes. Highlights include a self-guided walking tour of Mineral Point—the center of the lead mining region featuring hundreds of hand crafted limestone buildings erected by Cornish masons in the mid-nineteenth century; a stage coach inn dating to 1834; a dairy farm from the early twentieth century (the childhood home of "fighting" Bob Lafollette); and a "Swiss" dinner in "America’s little Switzerland," New Glarus. Download .pdf here.

Housing Madison: Where We Live, Where We Work: A FIeld Guide to the Vernacular Architecture Forum Annual Conference, 8 June 2012

Anna Vemer Andrzejewski and Arnold R. Alanen, eds. (Madison, Wisc.: Department of Art History and Department of Landscape Architecture, 2012)

This guidebook includes materials prepared for the 8 June 2012 tour, which focused on the city of Madison, seeking to further illuminate the economic and stylistic relationships between Madison and its surrounding region. Beginning in Madison's Third Lake Ridge neighborhood, which boasted industries such as agricultural implement manufacturing that were vital to the success of surrounding rural regions, participants also visited a post-World War II neighborhood adjacent to Oscar Mayer's major meatpacking facility. At the agricultural campus at UW-Madison, participants explored innovations that led to the success of dairying in the region. Finally, the tour examined regional modernism with a visit to Madison’s westside suburbs, highlighting the influence of Frank Lloyd Wright on builders and developers who sought to forge a "Midwestern" style. Download .pdf here.

2010 Washington, D.C.

Housing Washington: Two Centuries of Residential Development and Planning in the National Capital Area

Richard Longstreth, ed. (Chicago: Center for American Places, 2010)

Since the early nineteenth century, an unusually rich and varied array of housing stock has been created in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Washington has harbored numerous private-sector initiatives to develop model housing projects, and it has also been a proving ground for federal policies crafted to improve living conditions for households of middle and moderate income. In addition, the large, middle-class African American population has left a distinct imprint on the metropolitan area’s domestic landscape, developing its own options for housing in city and suburb alike.

Profusely illustrated, with thirteen chapters by fourteen esteemed authors, Housing Washington examines the storied legacy of residential development in our nation’s capital, from the early nineteenth century to the present. By focusing on a wide variety of mainstream patterns and interweaving the threads of convention and change as well as those of race and class, this book offers a fresh perspective on metropolitan dwelling places and breaks new ground in urban studies and architectural and planning history. To purchase visit

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