Karl Smith Studio was founded in 1991 in Sonoma County, in the heart of California's Wine Country.

Inspired by the natural beauty of the region and the urban energy of nearby San Francisco, Karl has dedicated his practice to the design of innovative, humane environments for living and working. He has served clients throughout the United States and in Europe. In addition to his architectural practice, Karl writes for architectural journals and has been published in the U.S. as well as Europe and Japan. He has published one book, Haiku Cottage, with others to follow in 2010.

In 2009 Karl began a new era of practice with the establishment of his Southern California studio, bringing his passion for design and over 25 years of professional experience to clients in the Los Angeles area and beyond.


Celebration, Creation, and Realization are at the heart of every project at Karl Smith Studio. Our philosophy of design can be summed up as follows:

ARCHITECTURE CELEBRATING LIFE Celebration is at the heart of every one of Karl’s projects- a celebration of the client, of their lives, their work and their aspirations, their dreams for a better future.

THE TRANSFORMATIVE IDEA Each project at Karl Smith Studio begins with a conversation, a discussion not just about the parameters of the project, but the goals and greater aspirations of our clients. Along the way we gather information that leads us to articulate a fundamental idea that forms the nucleus of the design concept . Often this idea is transformational in nature, leading us to a new understanding of the project .

HONORING THE PAST, PURSUING THE FUTURE The great architectures of the past have much to teach us both culturally and historically. They inform our understanding of the present. But it is the future we pursue at Karl Smith Studio. We are looking to new ways of sheltering ourselves for a new era, inspired by the innovations and artistic achievements of the past.

THE NATURAL PATTERN OF STRUCTURE Architecture designed in harmony with natural systems, looking beyond our current era of consumption to an era of sustainability, and then even beyond to an era of symbiosis, where our built environments are a dynamic and integral part of a local ecosystem.

A DYNAMIC SIMPLICITY Karl’s architecture and design seeks clarity and harmony, a natural simplicity of form and function, while recognizing each project is a dynamic part of larger natural and man-made environments and must be responsive to a multitude of functional demands.