A Letter from the 2023 AIA CRAN Chair

Stepping in as 2023 chair of the AIA CRAN Knowledge Community, I am filled with gratitude for those who have carried the banner of CRAN during particularly challenging times. Over the past two years, Tom Meiklejohn, AIA, and Blake Held, AIA, have admirably navigated the pandemic, expanded our online offerings for continuing education, and brought our community of residential architects together at our symposium in Chicago for a long-anticipated reunion last fall.

CRAN Advisory Group member Mark Asher, AIA, vividly shared in RD magazine, Volume 5, 2022, his symposium experience from Chicago with descriptions of joyful moments and the meaning of those moments to all of us as residential architects. One of the enlightening moments for me occurred at the CRAN Leader Roundtable, where local leaders from New York, Cincinnati, and Austin shared innovative ideas for bringing together a broader and more diverse collection of voices in our professions. Austin architects Patricia Borowicz, AIA, and Megan Lin, AIA, shared insightful keys to organizing a successful construction site tour program and how these gatherings are happening around their region. Patricia and Megan are newer faces in the CRAN community and highlight the critical value of the diverse network of residential architects across the country who reach out to learn from and share with each other.

CRAN has succeeded as an AIA knowledge community by providing a broad range of continuing learning opportunities, thought leadership, professional development, and advocacy for all residential architects. We must continue to make diversity and equity essential core values in our CRAN community to encourage and ensure that all ranges of voices are heard and respected.

Things to Look Forward to in 2023

I am more than excited to welcome the CRAN community to my hometown of Salt Lake City and the Wasatch Mountain Range of Utah in mid-October 2023 for what we feel will be a transformative AIA CRAN Symposium. Utah has been called the crossroads of the West, and this Intermountain Region has been the fastest-growing region in the U.S. for several decades. The Wasatch is also home to a growing number of young (and older) talented residential architects and, recently, an expanding list of internationally respected architects who are coming here to explore, interpret, and—hopefully—respect the unique environmental quality of the high desert and mountains of the Great Basin.

However, in gathering in Salt Lake City and touring architectural projects in surrounding Park City and Ogden Valley, our goal is that CRAN Symposium ’23 is not just about pristine mountain sites and finely crafted wood frame construction. The West faces the challenges of a staggering deficit of affordable housing at the same moment it contends with one of its most serious climate crises as the region dries up. The Great Salt Lake is shrinking, the Colorado Plateau is parched, and the water of the Colorado River no longer reaches the Pacific Ocean. 

We have difficult decisions to make, and residential architects are in a unique position to address these larger questions: What is the future of living? And what does it mean to live together in close proximity, particularly in an arid, sparsely populated region?  How can prefabrication, standardization, and sustainability provide solutions to the climatic and environmental dilemma we find ourselves in? These questions guide us as we organize our symposium this year.

The challenges of our time are daunting and yet the opportunities ahead of us as residential architects and citizen architects give me hope, optimism, and anticipation in working together with you all this year.

In gratitude,

Warren Lloyd, AIA