Carson Smith, AIA
“I see architecture as the art of solving problems and meeting needs in a beautiful way. Our profession improves the lives of both the people using a building and those in the surrounding community.”
Carson’s profound experience with design, construction documents, and project management, coupled with his talent for creating innovative and memorable interior spaces, ensures that his projects consistently exceed the clients’ goals and expectations. His most prominent work has been his large-scale adaptive reuse projects, converting historic downtown office buildings into highly sought-after venues and residences. His conversion of the Philtower building blazed the way for future rehabilitation projects in downtown Tulsa, and his work converting the Mayo 420 Building won national acclaim.
Carson is also an accomplished glassblowing artist.
Get to Know Carson
Education, Licensing, Boards, Publications, Presentations, Awards
- Bachelor of Architecture, Oklahoma State University
- Board of Directors, Tulsa Glassblowing School
What attracted you to architecture, and when did you know you wanted to make that your career?
As a child, I was always interested in construction and loved watching a house being built. When a new mobile home pulled into the mobile home park my parents owned, I could tell how it was laid out just by looking at the windows. In 5th grade, a friend’s mother drew the floor plan of their house plus what it would be like to enclose the patio as an additional room. I had never seen a floor plan before, but I immediately grasped the relationship of three-dimensional space to a floor plan. I realized that before a house or building is built that someone first draws what it is going to be. I knew that I wanted to be that person. My mom told me that person is called an Architect. Then she told me that the drug store sold magazines of house plans. We had to immediately go buy some. From that point on I was the weird kid who drew house plans and mobile home plans.
What is your favorite type of project and why?
I like adaptive reuse projects because they give a building a new life. I like having something to start with, and I begin by discovering some of its history. Unexpected things can turn up during demolition that can be problematic, but I like the challenge of turning problems into an opportunity to do something great.
Why KKT? What sets KKT apart from its competitors?
KKT is the first place I felt I could be myself.
Explain one thing/situation you’ve experienced that you doubt anyone reading this has also experienced.
I made three floor-to-ceiling decorative columns for my college apartment out of 18 stackable red trash cans, cardboard, and Christmas lights. They were one of the things Andy Kinslow remembered from my portfolio after he interviewed me. I also made mobile home models with shoe boxes and erector set wheels and pieces.
If you had a free afternoon to do anything, what would you do?
Blow glass if it isn’t too hot. If it is too hot, float in the pool.