The purpose of the Tri-chapter Custom Residential Architects Network (CRAN) is to serve the unique needs of DC-area architects who specialize in custom residential design by providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and resources that affect residential design practice.



National Capital Area CRAN was born of the notion that the Washington area’s residential architects could be better served by the abundance of resources available in our area. This was one of several conclusions drawn by the presidents of the three DC-area AIA chapters — AIA Northern Virginia , AIA DC , AIA Potomac Valley — who began to meet in 2012 to strategize about ways the chapters might better collaborate and pool their energies and resources to better serve their members.


The National Capital Area CRAN (Custom Residential Architects Network) was among the first formal initiatives to grow out of these discussions. It was launched at the beginning of 2013 by a steering committee made up of residential architect-members from all three AIA chapters, and plans were made to create bi-monthly programs that would serve the interests and needs of all of the area’s custom residential architects, rotating program venues among the chapters. Nationally, CRAN is the fastest growing group within the AIA’s Residential Knowledge Community. By bringing CRAN to our local residential architects, our goal is to address unique issues related to custom residential practice while also serving a body of architects who have lacked the common resources often available to larger firms and to other, more specialized architectural firms. As a forum, CRAN provides for the exchange of ideas, concerns, successes and failures, and resources that affect residential practice. CRAN also provides continuing education opportunities with programs that are relevant, timely, and specific to custom residential designers.


The Capital Area CRAN officially launched on May 1, 2013 with its first program, held at the District Architecture Center (DAC) and featuring a well-attended networking reception and presentation, “How to Get Published: A Panel Discussion”. The distinguished panel of local experts included S. Claire Conroy, Editor in Chief of Residential Architect magazine; Sharon Jaffe Dan, Editor in Chief of Home & Design magazine; and Judy Davis, Photographer at Hoachlander Davis Photography. Residential Architect Randall Mars, an AIA Northern Virginia member and member of the CRAN Steering Committee, moderated. There were many questions and comments from the audience and it was a successful launch, by all counts.


The tri-chapter CRAN steering committee is itself an example of what happens when residential architects congregate, many of them used to practicing alone or in small firms. The group has been meeting since the beginning of 2013 to brainstorm, plan for, and shape the CRAN group and its programs. In our discussions, we’ve shared the trials and tribulations of our own practices and have discovered first-hand how much we can learn from one another by talking amongst ourselves.


In fulfillment of the mission of AIA CRAN, future programs will embrace the following goals:

  • provide continuing education programs relevant to residential designers

  • engage in public outreach and education

  • engage in academic and professional advocacy


We invite all interested area architects whose practices include a focus on custom residential design to join us. We want YOU to come to our programs because we believe that you’ll benefit from participation. But we also invite you to join us in shaping the group so that we can provide the best CRAN we can – and your opinions matter. Please contact us for any feedback or suggestions to help make us better!


Each of the three area chapters—AIA DC, AIA Northern Virginia and AIA Potomac Valley—host monthly programs on a rotating basis to provide its members with learning units focused on custom residential architecture. These events include both lunchtime learning events and evening programs that bring experts in to discuss relevant topics. Each event is sponsored by companies associated with the event. CRAN program attendees are invited to identify program topics of interest to the group and potential program sponsors; to provide constructive feedback about programs; to inform the Steering Committee of their interest in being part of a CRAN contact list; and to join the Steering Committee!