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” documented nearly 400 patterned-brick buildings constructed between 1680 and 1830 and created a framework for the continuing study of these early regional examples. Architectural Historian Robert W. Craig, of the New Jersey State Historic Preservation Office, spearheaded this seven-year project from start to finish. He coordinated the inventory, conducted extensive research, and authored the Multiple Property Documentation Form for the National Register of Historic Places. Many professionals and volunteers also contributed to this ambitious undertaking with fieldwork, mapping, and additional assistance. This comprehensive approach generated a scholarly historical context for these distinctive buildings, some of which have been included in the vernacular canon for decades. Not only were extant examples documented, but also those no longer standing. The project studied New Jersey examples, but it presents a valuable basis for further documentation and analysis of similar patterned brickwork buildings from New York to South Carolina. Fortunately this nomination will be referenced for future surveys to help preserve these uniquely beautiful buildings, both in New Jersey and beyond.


The second equally deserving recipient of the 2020 Buchanan Award is “The Asian Americans in Los Angeles Historic Context Statements” and the associated National Register of Historic Places’ Multiple Property Documentation Form. The Los Angeles City Planning Office of Historic Resources received a two-year National Park Service grant in 2016 to complete this ambitious project. Under the direction of Janet Hansen and Sara Delgadillo Cruz, the City partnered with the historic preservation firm of Architectural Resources Group in Los Angeles, led by Katie E. Horak, to develop and coordinate this nomination with teams of professional consultants, volunteers, and Asian American community leaders, scholars, and activists. The ground-breaking component of this study consists of five impressive cultural context statements that highlight the importance and contributions of the Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, and Thai American communities in Los Angeles. With periods of significance that extend to 1970-80, it examines the immigration, settlement, migration patterns and human stories of Asian Americans as reflected by their buildings and landscapes. Not only is this a remarkable cultural study, it is notable for its careful analyses of properties that otherwise might be overlooked or demolished. It provides a relevant and useful framework for future evaluation and designation of each Asian American community’s associated historic resources that reflect a strong sense of identity and cultural history.




The Vernacular Architecture Forum is pleased to present the prestigious Buchanan Award to these outstanding and ambitious projects that set the standard for architectural fieldwork in America and create compelling models for the future.


Buchanan Award Committee

Marianne Hurley, chair

Catherine Lavoie

Willie Graham 


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