Advancing Awareness of Architecture:
MAF Awards Damian Farrell
Architecture Awareness Grants
to Three Projects


The Michigan Architectural Foundation (MAF) is pleased to announce it recently awarded three Damian Farrell Architecture Awareness Grants. The grants provide financial assistance to organizations and individuals that organize, sponsor and promote events, lectures, publications, and experiences that increase awareness and appreciation of architecture.

The three projects and their grantees are:

Forming Function Podcast (grantees: Brian Moore and Samantha Brown-podcast creators, producers, and hosts; Jeffery Brown, audio editor and Julia Sikora, audio mixing engineer).  The podcast presents a series of stories which promote the role and impact of design in everyday lives with approachable, educational, humorous, and entertaining storytelling that appeals to everyone.  The grant will help fund the second season of the 12-episode podcast. The podcast, which is produced in Detroit, is a second-time Damian Farrell Architecture Awareness Grant recipient.

The Albert Kahn Sonata (grantee: The Albert Kahn Legacy Foundation).  The Sonata is a new multimedia piano composition honoring the buildings of architect Albert Kahn, with a project team comprised of composer Michael Kropf, filmmaker John Mark Hansen, and pianist Forrest Howell. The Sonata will be performed live with a 15-minute film presentation in locations including Detroit’s Fisher Building lobby; the University of Michigan; private showings; and at Michigan high schools.

Eliel Saarinen: a Life in Architecture (grantee: Michael Hodges, author). The project is a comprehensive biography of renowned architect Eliel Saarinen, which will be published by Wayne State University Press. Publication is currently slated for 2027, to coincide with the100th anniversary of the Saarinen-designed Cranbrook School for Boys. Starting in 2024, Hodges (former Detroit News fine-arts writer, recently retired, and author of several books on architects and Michigan architecture).


MAF’s board and the grant committee cited the diversity of work and ideas presented by the applicants among the deciding factors for the recent grants awarded.

Damian Farrell Architecture Awareness Grants are awarded each January and July (applications are now being accepted for the next round of grants in July). Applications are judged by the MAF Damian Farrell Architecture Awareness Committee and approved by the MAF Board of Trustees. In 2024, a total of $15,000 will be awarded.

Past projects benefitting from the grants include the Hidden in Plain Site and Forming Function Podcasts (the latter mentioned above); MAF’s ArchiTreks educational series (in conjunction with Detroit Public Television, which airs on the Michigan Learning Channel);  the award-winning documentary on Charlevoix’s unique Mushroom Houses, and the film ‘Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future’; NOMA Detroit’s Project Pipeline Architecture Camps for minority and under-represented high school students; free architecture tour maps of Michigan communities including Flint, Ann Arbor, and Grand Rapids; the book, Guardians of Michigan, featuring architectural sculptures from buildings throughout the state; Flint’s Flat Lot Design Competition, Washtenaw County’s Community Action Network (CAN) Art & Design program, and countless others. (The program was renamed the Damian Farrell Architecture Awareness Grant in April 2023, in honor of the program’s late long-time chair Damian Farrell. The program is now being led by MAF Trustee Alan Cobb).

For more information on the grants and how to apply: