The AIA / CRANWiki is a resource to the public for understanding, in the context of custom residential design, what architects do and how they do it. As such, it is a database open to all so it will include best practices for how we each proceed through the design process. Included are:

1. Definitions for architecture and construction terms such as "program", "schematics", etc.

2. How the design process works and how it is documented.

3. Descriptions of how architects use (in the context of residential design) walls, columns, ceilings, windows, doors, light, color and other architectural elements to shape & define space.

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Click on a term or word to understand how it's used in the context of custom residential design and construction.

Getting There - the Process

Architects typically design from the very general to the very detailed. What's important is that at every step the architect aids the client in making decisions about the project. Questions about the where, what, why, how much, how big, etc. are all asked and answered.

  • The Big Picture
  • The Team
  • Exploring conceptual design options
  • Schematic design and outline specifications
  • Sanity Check #1
  • Structure, mechanical systems, materials & more
  • Sanity check #2
  • Recording & communicating decisions
  • Getting the right builder
  • Governmental approvals
  • Construction
  • Living in your new home

The Architect's Toolkit

An architect's toolkit includes ideas for how to assemble architectural elements such as walls, columns, ceilings, windows, doors, light, color, etc. to create and shape space. In doing so, architects define room features (size, height, light filled, etc.) as well as how getting from room to room is achieved (circulation pattern / traffic flow).