Craig Kerins

Craig Kerins
Co-founder The Raleigh Architecture Co. and The Raleigh Construction Co.

Bachelor of Arts in Architecture, UNC Charlotte (2002)
Bachelor of Architecture, UNC Charlotte (2004)

Hometown: Athens, PA; Oberursal, Germany; Greenville, NC

As a second-year architecture student in Professor Greg Snyder’s design-build studio, Craig Kerins and his classmates designed and constructed a steel shade canopy at a local little league field.

“It was an ambitious project that stretched our capacity, but was totally comprehensive in its lessons,” he says. “It was defining for me in how I think about designing and building.”

That, and other design-build experiences at UNC Charlotte, planted the seeds of what would later become The Raleigh Architecture Company (RACo) and its companion, The Raleigh Construction Company (RCCo), which Craig and partner and fellow UNC Charlotte alum Robby Johnston founded in 2012.

“There are different ways to engage and develop a design process and, for me, I was most intrigued with a hands-on approach,” he says. “The robust workshop facilities at UNC Charlotte were significant to me during this time, and RACo has maintained similar resources as part of our process since the beginning.”

A member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Craig is both a licensed architect and a licensed general contractor. His work with Robby Johnston has received multiple AIA Regional Design Honor and Merit Awards, AIA NC Design Honor and Merit Awards, and Triangle Design Honor, Merit, and Homes Tour Awards. And while they are lauded for their work in single-family residential housing, and more recently in multi-family housing, their own RACo/RCCo office project (pictured) wonderfully illustrates their signature seamless integration of multiple skillsets.

“We purchased an old service garage in 2018 and renovated it as our own office. Here we acted as developer, architect, builder, and, finally, owner. Learning to play these various roles has been key to the success of our projects over the years. We've learned to navigate a myriad of regulatory requirements as well as the logistics of financing, insurance, etc. in order to get our projects done. These skills have allowed us to be proactive in creating opportunities; this time it was for ourselves. The design of the building itself reflects fundamental ideas of light, space, and detailing. Most important is that we now have an inspiring place to work that reflects our process.”

The Raleigh Architecture Company office building

Craig emphasizes the responsibility to contemporary society that comes with being an architect, and he encourages current architecture students to embrace that duty.

“Learn to see the world critically; this job demands that we understand how we live and how that affects our neighbors and resources. Travel, read, and always continue to learn about the rest of the world. Now more than ever we need our actions to matter for the better good of our built environment and our communities. Put yourself in a position to make a positive impact.”

Craig and Robby are the 2021 College of Arts + Architecture Distinguished Alumni in Architecture. They were both also awarded the 2023 Kamphoefner Prize by the North Carolina Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIANC).