A Legacy of Design: Meet MAF Board Member Bob Daverman

Architect Bob Daverman Brings His (and his family’s) Lifelong Passion for Architecture to the Michigan Architectural Foundation

Architecture, art, and design have always been part of Robert (Bob) Daverman’s life. His mother, Katherine, was a painter; his father, also named Robert, an engineer who loved architecture; and his family tree features multiple generations of architects. As a kid, Bob’s parents would take him on road trips where they pointed out interesting architecture along the route. Armed with a 3-D imagination and awestruck by the scale of buildings, Bob knew from early on that architecture was his calling.

“Given my family’s background and involvement in the profession, it may seem like becoming an architect was genetic,” said Bob, “but I loved everything about it – due in large part to the appreciation for architecture my family instilled in me. It is a marvelous feeling, to experience architecture, and one I want others to have the chance to be part of.” Bob has applied his love of architecture not only to his career, but also in his role as a Michigan Architectural Foundation (MAF) board member.

“In the past couple of years alone, MAF has made great strides in focusing on its mission: the story of Michigan architecture, and how it makes our lives better” said Bob. “MAF and our board members, which includes several public members, have been a megaphone for MAF’s stories and have given us expanded perspective not only on how to connect with our audiences, but on architecture’s greater impact.”

In addition to serving on the MAF board, Bob also spearheads MAF’s annual Auction for Education. The auction helps raise funds for a variety of programs that connect people with architecture, including MAF’s ‘Architecture it’s Elementary” curriculum for kindergarten through fifth grade students; college scholarships for architecture students; the ‘100 Essential Architecture Books’ and ‘Build Imagination’ book collections; and MAF’s Public Awareness Grants program, which support programming, lectures and events that advance awareness of how architecture enriches lives.

“Last year, in addition to our live auction, we introduced an online format, which allowed members of the public to bid on items,” said Bob. It was a great way to cast a wider net for our fundraising efforts and for raising awareness of the programs the auction supports. This year’s auction launches soon (in conjunction with the AIA Michigan Mid-Summer Conference) and we will be using the same dual live and online formats once again.”

Bob is proud of the ways MAF has helped connect people with architecture. “As a child, I remember fondly Charlevoix’s ‘mushroom houses’ designed by Earl Young, and how much I loved them. MAF Public Awareness Grants provided financial support for the documentary on the houses called ‘The Wizard of Boulder Park,’ which allowed people in Michigan and around the world to experience this unique part of our state’s architecture.”

He continues, “MAF really helps engage you in the fundamental reasons behind the vastness and dynamic of architecture. And of course, if our programming can help kids with the interest and talent to pursue architecture as a career, or to become placemakers and better community stewards, then we have done much of our job”

Bob’s parents created a donor-advised fund with the Grand Rapids Community Foundation to give back to the community; funds have helped support projects such as the ‘ArchiTreks’ educational program segments which aired on PBS’ Detroit Public TV and can be viewed on MAF’s You Tube channel. “It is so special for me to honor their legacy and appreciation of architecture through projects that help others understand the benefit of having architecture in our lives.”

Five years ago, Bob started his own firm (Daverman Architecture & Planning) which, along with his involvement with MAF, re-ignited his love for the profession. “I really enjoy helping my clients understand the spiritual, emotional, and intellectual power of architecture. Becoming involved with MAF has really helped me appreciate how architecture impacts lives of others. The longer I am part of MAF, the more I realize how special it is.”

Photos below (clockwise): Bob skiing in the Italian Alps; Bob’s parents, Katherine and Robert Daverman; the donor-advised fund created by Bob’s parents has helped to fund projects like MAF’s ‘ArchiTreks’ educational program.