• S. Claire Conroy, editor

    Credit: Eli Kaplan

    S. Claire Conroy, editor

Welcome to our second-to-last issue of 2012. It’s also the penultimate issue in our 15th anniversary year. And if all that weren’t enough cause for self reflection, this is the magazine we send to our annual Reinvention Symposium. Birthday. Reinvention. Maybe now you’re beginning to understand what we’ve done here. This is the new, redesigned Residential Architect. And I have to say, I’m very happy to uppercase those two words after all these years as editor of the magazine. Goodbye, e.e. cummings. Hello, a more dignified treatment of the profession we admire so much.

We loved the original design of the magazine. It’s served us well for a very long time, changing and evolving along with us. We have our late design director, Judy Neighbor, to thank for our durable good looks. But even she would have itched for a change by now to reflect our maturity and the growing stature of the profession to which we are dedicated. We are The American Institute of Architects’ residential architecture journal, and we should look the part.

Our new look is cleaner and more streamlined. We’ve rearranged the furniture a bit in our new house, but you’ll recognize many of the pieces. A new front section called Reinvention takes its cue from our symposium and contains new ideas, practice models, and entrepreneurial practitioners. This also is where you’ll find the prototypes we used to feature in standalone departments like Shelter Lab and Green Piece. Spec Tech is a new section that encompasses Doctor Spec and New Material, our products application story and new products departments of yore.

We’ve moved the project coverage to the front of the magazine as well, into a new section called Case Study. The projects will relate to a specific housing problem. This month, we look at vacation homes. The cover story in most issues will be a profile of an achieving residential firm. This month, we have our annual Leadership Awards profiles. All told, we aim to give you more of what you’ve said you love—more photos, drawings, and plans. And more projects, products, and profiles, presented in a crisper package that connects us more clearly to our sister publication, ARCHITECT. You’ll notice our shared DNA, while we both preserve our individual identities.

We admit it, change is hard. We knew we needed to update our wardrobe, but it’s always nerve-wracking to go out in public for the first time in your new outfit. We’ve shed our jeans for more formal attire. Our portraits of architects are more stoic and serious. One architect friend called it “full frontal architecture”—our subjects photographed head-on. Form, function, with no artifice.

Like the scientists who subject themselves first to a new vaccine, I was the first to swallow the medicine. I have a new portrait. You’ll see I’ve aged in a flash—15 years gone in a single click of the shutter. Well, we all have our battle scars and we’ve earned them.

We hope you like your new magazine. Yes, we’ve rearranged the furniture, but we still want to sit down with you at the kitchen table and hear what’s on your mind. So don’t be shy; tell us what you think.