Remarkable Link Between Projects by Tamara Burns

There is a surprising link between two historic projects currently on the boards at HBDS!  Both Gordon Hall in Dexter and the Elk Rapids District Library were owned in the early 20th Century by Katharine Dexter McCormick, who was a remarkable person in her own right.

Katharine Dexter McCormick was actually born in Gordon Hall, which was built by her grandfather, Samuel W. Dexter.  Samuel W. Dexter was a founding father of the Village of Dexter, and a noted abolitionist.  Gordon Hall is generally accepted to have been a stop on the Underground Railroad, and HBDS is involved in the ongoing restoration of this local landmark.  In 1950 Katharine Dexter McCormick donated the hall to the University of Michigan, who later sold it to its current owner, the Dexter Area Historical Society.

Gordon Hall, Dexter Michigan

Gordon Hall, Dexter Michigan


Meanwhile, “up north”, Katharine Dexter McCormick was the last private owner of the house on the “Isle of Pines”, where the Elk River flows into Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay.  The house had been built by Dexter native Edwin Noble, a friend and business partner of Katharine’s father, Wirt Dexter.  In 1948 Katharine Dexter McCormick deeded it to the town of Elk Rapids which converted the house into a library in 1949.  Today HBDS is working on the renovation and expansion of this beloved local landmark.

Elk Rapids District Library, Elk Rapids, Michigan

Elk Rapids District Library, Elk Rapids, Michigan


Born in Dexter in 1875, Katharine Dexter McCormick was a biologist, suffragist and philanthropist.  She was the second woman to graduate from MIT.  Katharine left her mark as a noted activist and philanthropist, and is credited with funding the research which developed the first oral contraceptive.   You never know what background studies for historic preservation will turn up!


Gene and Tamara Attend Red Carpet Premiere by Tamara Burns

Tamara Burns with her husband, Dennis McGowan and Gene Hopkins with his wife Jane were recently photographed on the red carpet at the World Premiere of a new documentary on the life of Eero Saarinen at the Cranbrook Museum of Art.  The film will have its national broadcast debut on PBS this December, as part of the popular PBS series, American Masters.  You can catch a brief preview at:

Dennis McGowan, Tamara Burns, Jane Hopkins and Gene Hopkins on the Red Carpet at the Cranbrook Art Museum

Dennis McGowan, Tamara Burns, Jane Hopkins and Gene Hopkins on the Red Carpet at the Cranbrook Art Museum

Tamara Burns, Fellow of the American Institute of Architects by Tamara Burns


HBDS is honored and excited to share the news that Tamara Burns, Principal and Co-founder, has been elevated to the College of Fellows of the American institute of Architects.

Tamara would like to express her gratitude to her colleagues, clients, and community for all the opportunities and challenges, to her husband Dennis McGowan and the rest of her wonderful family for all their incredible support.  She extends special thanks to her friend and business partner Gene Hopkins, her sponsor and adopted dad, Robert Ziegelman, and the many people who wrote letters, reviewed the application and generally encouraged her to go for it! The investiture ceremony will take place during the AIA Convention on May 20th at the beautiful Irvine Auditorium on the University of Pennsylvania campus.

For those of you who want to know more, this is from Wikipedia and the AIA website: Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA) is a post nominal, designating an individual who has been named a fellow of the American Institute of Architects. The AIA Fellowship program was developed to elevate those architects who have made a significant contribution to architecture and society and who have achieved a standard of excellence in the profession. Election to Fellowship not only recognizes the achievements of the architect as an individual, but also honors before the public and the profession a model architect who has made a significant contribution to architecture and society on a national level.

The Eugene Hopkins Distinguished Service Award by Tamara Burns

In addition to receiving numerous awards at the recent AIA Huron Valley award gala, as a firm, HopkinsBurns Design Stuido is proud to announce that firm principal Tamara Burns received the prestigious Eugene Hopkins Distinguished Service Award in recognition of her many years of active service to the AIA and the architecture profession.  Congratulations, Tamara!  We at HopkinsBurns are so proud of you.

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AIA Huron Valley Awards by Tamara Burns


The HopkinsBurns team is excited to announce that we received multiple awards at the recent AIA Huron Valley gala awards ceremony. For being “well known and respected within the Architecture Community and clearly demonstrating professional depth, breadth, collaboration or expertise” HBDS was presented a 2016 Firm Achievement Award

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The Wizard of Boulder Park by Tamara Burns

Sept 30, 2015- Charleviox, Michigan- The Wizard of Boulder Park

In this one minute excerpt from the film, preservation architects Tamara Burns and Eugene Hopkins discuss the works of Earl A. Young, builder of the famous Mushroom Homes of Charlevoix, Michigan.

The 49-minute documentary is now available on DVD at

HopkinsBurns is AIA Michigan Firm of the Year by Tamara Burns

HopkinsBurns is AIA Michigan Firm of the Year
June 5, 2015- Detroit, Michigan- HopkinsBurns Design Studio has been named AIA Michigan 2015 Firm of the Year. The firm is led by principals and co-founders Gene Hopkins, FAIA and Tamara Burns, AIA, LEED AP and is nationally recognized in historic preservation architecture. The Ann Arbor, Michigan based firm has extensive experience in the restoration and rehabilitation of hundreds of structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places including a number of National Historic Landmarks. The focus of the firm is historic preservation & communities by design with architectural expertise in the preservation, restoration and adaptive reuse of existing buildings and in the design of new places in downtown neighborhoods that are context sensitive and creatively fresh.