Network, learn from residential architects

Many architects turn to the American Institute of Architects for networking, resources and continuing education. Within AIA, the Custom Residential Architects Network Knowledge Community hopes to take that a step further and provide a place for residential architects and designers to call home.

“We are residential architects where we directly engage the homeowner in the design process,” says Mark Demerly, chair of CRAN Knowledge Community of AIA and president of Demerly Architects, Indianapolis.

Demerly adds that the CRAN group is totally inclusive. “You don’t have to be an AIA member to be a member of CRAN. By becoming a member, you have a voice to a profession that we are not just a secondary market but a primary component to architecture,” he says. “Within AIA, we’ve found a lot of individuals who have felt left out. We provide a voice within the [National Association of Home Builders, National Association of the Remodeling Industry and Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association] to collaborate on better design.”

CRAN’s annual symposium is one way the group provides resources to residential architects and designers. To be held in Indianapolis, October 14, 15 and 16, the theme of this year’s symposium is “Elevating the Art of Design and Practice.”

“Attendees won’t just hear presentations. It’s about exchanging thoughts,” Demerly says. “With smaller groups you can exchange with each other or a panel.” Approximately 200 people are expected to attend the symposium.

A pre-event home tour of the Miller House and Garden is available for attendees who arrive on Thursday, with a welcome reception that evening. The symposium kicks off on Friday with keynote speaker Doug Patt at 8:30 a.m., and roundtable and home tour in the afternoon.

The look of Friday’s home tour is different than other home tours in the industry because it includes case studies of the homes. “The home tour takes place in a historic neighborhood of contemporary homes,” Demerly says. “We will talk about how the homes were created and what was learned in the process.” The home tour is from 12 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Dinner groups are another interesting option during the symposium. Saturday night, attendees can sign up to attend dinner with a group of fellow attendees. This is intended to create conversation and networking opportunities.

The goal of the symposium is to provide networking and conversation among attendees and less about one-way communication from panel members. “It’s a great way to build relationships,” Demerly adds.