Broadcasting Architecture’s Significance:
Two New Design-Focused Podcasts Receive MAF Architecture Awareness Grant Funding


Architecture enriches our lives, and the Michigan Architectural Foundation believes that the more Michigan residents understand architecture’s contribution to making our lives better, the higher the quality of life in our state becomes. That’s the premise behind MAF’s Architecture Awareness Grants. The grants are awarded to organizations and individuals that organize, sponsor and promote events, lectures, publications, and experiences that increase awareness of architecture.

At its January 2023 Board meeting, MAF approved two Architecture Awareness Grants, both to architecture-based podcasts: $6,500 to Noir Design Parti’s Hidden in Plain Site podcast; and $1,500 for the Forming Function Podcast.

The Hidden in Plain Site Podcast

Join architects and hosts Saundra Little, FAIA, LEED AP, and Karen A.D. Burton on a very personal journey as they weave together stories from the careers and lives of Black architects, in their podcast, ‘Hidden in Plain Site.’ The podcast introduces the world to the significant contributions contemporary and trailblazing Black architects have made to the profession, the community, and major cities across the U.S.

Hidden in Plain Site highlights diversity in architecture, featuring interviews with U.S.-based Black architects (all from Michigan), each of whom is passionate and community-oriented. The goal of the podcast is to lift the voices and elevate the careers of Black architects, as well as to increase awareness of their contributions to architecture, which are often overlooked.

Through intimate conversations, architects interviewed on the podcast tell stories of their connections to buildings, sites, institutions, influential architects, and forward-thinking industry ideas. Each episode’s City of Design Spotlight focuses on the guest’s Michigan influences, to encourage the audience to visit architectural sites, research designers, or consider how design and architecture influence their own lives.

Saundra and Karen also are founders of the award-winning Noir Design Parti project. Noir Design Parti documents the careers and creative works of Detroit’s African American architects, and the significant contributions that Saundra and Karen’s peers and predecessors have made to design and life in Detroit.

Find out more about the Hidden in Plain Site podcast, and listen to Season One of the podcast on the Noir Design Parti website:


The Forming Function Podcast

Have you ever wondered where barber poles came from? Or why do nuclear power plants look the way they do? How about why reinforced concrete was invented by a gardener? Forming Function is a podcast that intends to promote the role and impact of design in everyday lives with approachable, educational, humorous, and entertaining storytelling, and to peel back the stories behind everyday places and objects to reveal why the world is designed the way it is.

Among its topics, the Forming Function Podcast will feature episodes focusing on architecture and the built environment, as well as Michigan design stories that highlight the state’s architectural influence on the rest of the world.

Show hosts are Brian Moore, AIA, an architect working and residing in the city of Detroit. He is also a AIA Detroit committee leader and chairperson of the Corktown Neighborhood Advisory Council. Brian is joined by Samantha Brown, an AEC marketer devoted to community building in Detroit and across Michigan, and who serves on the board of directors for the Michigan Historic Preservation Network. Jeffrey Brown, a licensed Michigan realtor and Detroit preservation advocate, is the program’s audio engineer. He has a master’s degree in Historic Preservation from Eastern Michigan University.

The Forming Function Podcast’s initial release goal is late April 2023, in conjunction with World Design Day on April 27, 2023. Continue to check MAF’s social media for updates on the program’s launch, and how you can listen to it.

MAF’s Architecture Awareness Grants are awarded each January and July (applications are now being accepted for the July 2023 award cycle). Grant applications are judged by the MAF Board of Trustees Architecture Awareness Committee and approved by the MAF Board of Trustees.

Click here for more information on the grants, including application criteria and the application process.

(note: MAF Trustee Damian Farrell, FAIA, who chaired MAF’s Architecture Awareness Grants program since 2012, passed away earlier this month (read more here). Under Damian’s leadership and guidance, the reach and impact of MAF’s Architecture Awareness Grants program was exponentially expanded. He will be greatly missed. Read MAF’s Donor Profile on Damian from April, 2020.)