About the VAF

During the past few decades, interest in ordinary architecture has grown rapidly and in diverse directions. Scholars and field professionals apply the term "vernacular architecture" to a range of structures including traditional domestic and agricultural buildings, industrial and commercial structures, twentieth-century suburban houses, settlement patterns and cultural landscapes. The Vernacular Architecture Forum was formed in 1980 to encourage the study and preservation of these informative and valuable material resources.

In both membership and methods, VAF embraces the value of multidisciplinary interaction.  Historians, designers, archaeologists, folklorists, architectural historians, geographers, museum curators and historic preservationists contribute substantially to the organization.  Just as wide ranging are the interests and research subjects of our members. 

If you are interested in learning more about vernacular architecture and in building associations with like-minded students, scholars, and professionals from all parts of the continent and the world, then you should join the Vernacular Architecture Forum today.

You can learn more about the VAF as an organization by exploring these pages. We encourage the formation of regional chapters. VAF members have the opportunity to form regional chapters, and to join our e-mail discussion list.  Members also benefit by receiving our well-regarded journal, Buildings & Landscapes, the VAN a quarterly e-newsletter, and discounted conference registration.


  • 11 Dec 2014 11:35 AM | David Bergstone (Administrator)

    As some of you may know, we learned in late September that Gabrielle Lanier, our long-term Secretary, will be stepping down from this position. We are all enormously appreciative of her long and invaluable service on the Board and the executive committee of the VAF. Gabrielle has a particularly intimate knowledge of our organization; she knows how we look from the outside, from the inside, and she knows an awful lot about each of us as individuals. That knowledge and her prompt and helpful response to pleas for help and for information have been critical to our deliberation and decision making over the years. We are in her debt for this exceptional contribution to VAF.

    The nominations committee is at work to find a new Secretary, and we would welcome volunteers or suggestions for this critical position.

    As noted in our Bylaws, Section V G: “The Secretary shall serve a term of five years as Secretary of the Board of Directors and shall be responsible for the maintenance of the Forum’s minutes, corporate records, and such other records as may be specified by the Executive Committee. The Secretary may be renominated for an additional five-year term.”

    The Secretary serves on the Executive Committee, takes minutes at the Board’s twice-yearly meetings, handles our corporate and copyright filings, and has traditionally handled membership and responded to inquiries about the VAF. Some aspects of the Secretary’s duties, in particular these last, will be modified with our transition to the Wild Apricot system. Because the Secretary, like the Treasurer, serves a longer term than other Board members, this individual plays a special role in maintaining continuity and institutional memory.

    Please let me know if you are interested in serving VAF in this way or if you have a suggestion of someone who would do well in this role.

    Claire Dempsey, dempseyc@bu.edu
    For the Nominating Committee

  • 01 Oct 2014 11:47 AM | David Bergstone (Administrator)

    The New England Chapter of the Vernacular Architecture Forum is deeply saddened to share the news that longtime VAF member and current VAF-NE chapter President Rick Greenwood PhD died yesterday of cancer.  For nearly three decades, Rick served on the staff of the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission, most recently as Deputy Director. Trained as an archaeologist and historian, Rick focused on social, economic, and technological forces in Rhode Island history, including research on mill villages and the industrial revolution; the Blackstone Canal and the transportation revolution; and the evolution of the Rhode Island dairy farm. Rick contributed to The Early Architecture and Landscapes of the Narragansett Basin, prepared for the 2001 VAF national conference in Newport Rhode Island. Rick had served as a Director of VAF-NE from 2001 to 2007 and as President from 2012 to the present.  Before coming to Rhode Island, Rick was a historian at the National Historic Landmarks program of the National Park Service, and he was a preservation planner for the Maryland Historical Trust.  VAF-NE extends its deepest condolences to Rick's family and his RIHPHC colleagues.

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