Randall Mars Architects was started in June of 1989, pursuing excellence in the design of Residences, Commercial Buildings and Interior Architecture. Mr. Mars's desire was to create a practice in which he is intimately involved in all phases, from programming and concept development, detailing and documentation, and through Construction Administration. To achieve those ends, he has kept the firm small, and guaranteed clients his complete personal involvement and excellence in the work produced.

Since that date, Randall Mars Architects has won many honors and awards for their designs ranging from Residential Additions and New Homes to Corporate Interiors, Retail Establishments and Corporate Headquarters / Office Buildings.

Randall Mars Architects believes that modern architecture succeeds only when both the functional program and aesthetic composition are completely resolved. The firm focuses on the dynamics of light and space, as defined or created by the walls and masses. Architecture should not be static, as the compositions reflect. Architecture should be timeless.

Randall Mars, AIA Principal

Randall Mars earned a Masters of Arts in Architecture from the University of Florida in 1979. He began his personal career with a local interior architecture firm. There, he developed an excellent understanding of how office buildings functioned, as well as the many intricacies of tenant work. After 3 years, he took a position at a northern Virginia firm, and began focusing on base building design and construction. There, he won A.I.A. Awards for a single-family residence as well as NAIOP awards for his office building designs. In 1989, after eight years as an Associate and Principal Designer, Mr. Mars began his own practice to focus on a high level of design and detailing. He is currently teaching Professional Practice at Virginia Tech–WAAC Campus.


We strive to achieve excellent architecture, for all sizes and types of renovations and new houses, period. We are small, which means that I have personal involvement with everyone and every project. I do bring 35 years of experience and practice, however I do draw from the youth and energy of my colleagues. There are endless design ideas to consider. We listen to our clients (and our contractors). We do not always respond in the manner expected, but our responses directly address our clients' needs and desires. We are very conscious of cost / budget and spend endless energy advocating for our clients. There are no other architects who care more about each and every client and project. There are no other architects who enjoy architecture more.


Every project is unique. Constants of our responses, or "style" are:

  1. Light and space are ultimately the most important results of our work. The manner in which we enclose that space or deliver that light are the details.
  2. We wish to express the structures clearly and simply. Breaking the whole into clearly defined parts reduces the scale to a more human and personal relationship.
  3. Further, by thoughtfully grouping the parts of the whole, not only are interior spaces defined, but exterior places are created as well. This expands the living condition and connects the house to the natural environment.
  4. Materiality is very important. The nature and notion of the materials bring richness and dimension to the design.

Modern Architecture

"Modern" attempts to organize and simplify architecture, removing much of the applied decoration. The beauty (decoration) then lies in the organization and relationships of the spaces, the details of connection, and the use of materials and how they are applied. The time involved in great Modern Architecture is mostly expended in the reduction of the composition to the essence of the design concept.

Transitional Architecture

This can only be measured in degrees, as the effort is to simplify and streamline, to become more current and take advantage of the great technology of windows and lighting, while being a good neighbor and respecting the fabric of the community. Those degrees always evolve during the course of a project, as the Architect and Clients explore design options and discover what is available.

With the internet programs available today, the education of the general public is much more advanced. In the past, only architects were aware of very recent trends and developments in design; now, everyone can see all of the fabulous ideas available. The basis point has been greatly elevated.


The environment is disappearing in many affluent neighborhoods, as smaller houses with yards are being displaced by very large mostly non-descript boxes. Character can be argued as some builders do make some effort to decorate the box, but mostly, builders are capitalizing on the cost that a consumer will pay for "bigger". It is the monopoly effect, placing hotels on every property. This is most definitely NOT a modern notion, as with these boxes, there is virtually NO streamlining, simplification, or elemental elegance. The lack of design is very heavy handed. Unfortunately, the situation is widespread, and out of our control until we stop buying these house so quickly. Have all of the 40 somethings been raised to think "More is more"?

In 25 years, when these poorly built edifices are crumbling, it is possible that the general public might have glanced at the memo, and rebuild smaller, more efficient structures which reflect a more modest personality. The economic danger is great – unless property value at that time is so precious that down-sizing still pays.

Maybe then, we can value or environment, and not attempt to cover every sq. inch. Maybe then, we can value our natural resources and not create such a huge abuse of energy.