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.

The award was 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.

Call for 2024 Buchanan Award Nominations

The Vernacular Architecture Forum seeks nominations for the 2024 Paul E. Buchanan Award. This award will be presented at the annual conference in Keweenaw, Michigan in 2024. 

The application deadline for 2024 VAF Buchanan Award is Wednesday, November 15, 2023.  

The awardee will receive a full complimentary registration including tours and the banquet for the VAF conference and a certificate of excellence. 

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

Please contact the committee about other formats or large files so we may make alternate arrangements.


2023 Buchanan Award Recipient

The Paul E. Buchanan Award honors outstanding vernacular architecture and cultural landscape projects within a wide range of formats, other than published books or articles. The recipient of the 2023 Buchanan Award is The DC Legacy Project: Barry Farm-Hillsdale, featuring the documentary Barry Farm: Community, Land, and Justice in Washington, DC This exemplary work embodies the highest standards of meticulous documentation and rigorous analysis that this award was created to honor each year.

Please visit the 2023 Buchanan Award Recipient Page for more details.

Past Buchanan Award Winners

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