Evans Graham
Preservation Award

Created in 1998 to honor the memory of David Evans, FAIA, a talented and generous preservation architect, the award provides financial assistance and recognition to groups or individuals seeking to preserve historic Michigan architecture.

Ralph and Jeanne Graham, co-founders of the award, guided its development until their passing. The Award was re-named in 2015 to honor their leadership and contribution. Today, the Award of $20,000 is granted annually by a jury based on the merits of the project. The application period opens early in the year of award and closes March 31 of that year.

For more information, contact Carl Roehling:


Criteria for Selection


The project demonstrates creative and sustainable solution(s) to a preservation problem.


The final result will benefit the community within which it resides aesthetically and environmentally, with increased visibility and as an educational influence.


The project reflects the values of David Evans, and Ralph and Jeanne Graham:

  • Represents design and technical excellence
  • Is impactful – will make a difference
  • Is a model of process and sustainability for others to follow

Project Requirements

  • The project must be owned or led by an IRS qualified non-profit organization
  • The project must be located within the State of Michigan
  • The project must have an American Institute of Architects Michigan (AIAM registered architect) member involved as a consultant, advisor, or volunteer. A list of AIAM architects willing to provide pro bono consulting is available at the end of this document.


Application Requirements

It is the intent of the jury to make the submission as efficient and succinct as possible to save time for applicants. The quality of the submission is more important than the quantity of exhibits. To that end, applicants should submit their project in conformance with the following outline.

1. Cover Letter (1 page)

The letter should include; name of the project, name of the organization, confirmation of IRS status, name of contact person, contact information, and a paragraph summarizing how the project addresses the three criteria for the award.

2. Project Team (1 page)

Brief description and history of the organization. Project leaders from the organization. List of professionals and contractors involved in the project and their roles. Name of AIAM member involved and their role.

3. Project Description (2 pages)

Answer the following questions:

  • What is the story/history of the project?
  • What preservation problem(s) does it address?
  • What are the creative solutions?
  • What sustainability strategies are employed?
  • What are the benefits to the community?
  • What is the budget for the project?
  • How will the award dollars be spent?

4. Project Exhibits (4 pages maximum)

Provide the graphic information that is most important to the case for the award. This may include photographs, renderings, plans or details that describe the project and its creativity, quality and benefits to the community.



Organizations will submit a PDF application and project description by email to Carl Roehling, FAIA,  cdroehling@gmail.com, beginning in February.

  • Submissions must be received by the end of the day March 31, of the application year.
  • The Evans Graham Preservation Award Jury will deliberate and select the recipient in April. The successful organization will be notified thereafter.


  • Dan Bollman, AIAEast Arbor Architecture201 E Grand River AvenueEast Lansing, MI 48823Phone: (517) 993-8148debollman@comcast.net
  • Randy Case, AIAArchitecture + Design Inc.36 East Michigan AvenueBattle Creek, MI 49017Phone: (269) 966-9037rcase@aplusd.biz
  • Alan Cobb, FAIAAlbert Kahn Associates Inc.Fisher Building3011 – 1800 W. Grand BoulevardDetroit, MI 48202Phone: (313) 202-7000alan.cobb@akahn.com
  • Norm Hamann, Jr., AIA, LEED APDiekema Hamann Architecture + Engineering612 South Park StreetKalamazoo, MI 49007Phone: (269) 373-1108nhamannjr@dhae.com
  • Jeff Hausman, AIASmithGroup500 Griswold Street Suite 1700Detroit, MI 48226Phone: (313) 983-3600jeff.hausman@smithgroup.com
  • Bob Hoida, AIAHobbs + Black Architects100 North State StreetAnn Arbor, MI 48104Phone: (734) 663-4189bhoida@hobbs-black.com
  • Gene Hopkins, FAIAHopkinsBurns Design Studio4709 North Delhi RoadAnn Arbor, MI 48104Phone: (734) 424-3344gene.hopkins@hopkinsburns.com
  • Elisabeth Knibbe, FAIAPhone: (734) 516-9230eknibbe@knibbe.com
  • Dan La Pan, AIA, LEEDR.C. Hendrick & Son2885 South Graham RoadSaginaw, MI 48609Phone: (989) 781-8116dan@rchendrick.com
  • Les Tincknell, FAIAWTA architects100 South Jefferson AvenueSuite 601Saginaw, MI 48607Phone: (989) 245-6298ltincknell@wtaarch.com
2023 Award Recipient

Blue Bird Inn Preservation and Rehabilitation

Preserving Detroit's Musical History

The $20,000 MAF grant will help complete the restoration of the building facade, masonry, and exterior envelope of the Blue Bird Inn, a historic jazz club located on Detroit’s Old West Side.

The Blue Bird was the spot for jazz in Detroit. Musicians, including leaders in modern jazz such as Charlie Parker and Miles Davis, played at the club regularly in the 1950s, and local musicians, such as drummer Roy Brooks and saxophonist Wendell Harrison, apprenticed there. The legendary landmark also served as a key hub for Black life and culture in its neighborhood and the city of Detroit throughout the 20th century.

The project’s grantee, the Detroit Sound Conservancy (DSC), is restoring the building for use as a neighborhood music venue, with a publicly-accessible music archive, cultural heritage center, and intergenerational, collaborative community art and multi-use neighborhood gathering space to meet modern organizational and community needs.

Read more about the project in the MAF article.