Immediately following Residential Architect magazine’s Reinvention Symposium, AIA CRAN held a forum on the ways residential architects can reach beyond typical client services to influence more of the built environment. 

Richard Alsop Jr., AIA, of charette architects, pllc, discussed his innovative practice model of providing design services to homeowners’ associations. His firm helps the associations maintain and enforce their design standards and serves as the independent design authority when design disputes arise. He reviews all plans in detail and offers consulting to correct problems. His firm has weathered the recession handily and finds this model lucrative and satisfying. Additionally, he arranges for the associations to cover his practice insurance, so he’s relieved of another financial burden.

CRAN chair Mark Demerly, AIA, Demerly Architects, shared his relationship with an entrepreneurial builder/developer. He is the company’s go-to architect for design services. Potential buyers find a streamlined custom building process that takes the guesswork out of budgeting and enables them to roll the cost of design into the mortgage itself. Demerly is paid at the time of service directly by the building company.

Eric Rawlings, AIA, Rawlings Design, specializes in custom-quality speculative residential design. He explored the flawed appraisal process that rarely evaluates custom features and quality construction properly. Instead, in his experience, appraisers nearly always base their findings on so-called “comparables,” weighing numbers of bedrooms and baths and location features above design and construction quality. His take-away advice was to never design the most expensive house in the neighborhood, but aim squarely for the middle range of cost.

For more about the AIA Custom Residential Architects Network:

For a full program of Reinvention 2012:

Reinvention 2012 will be viewable soon online at:

To view last year’s Reinvention sessions: