Our story

Firm Profile

Founded in 1986, Cooper Johnson Smith Architects, Inc. is an award-winning design firm with a successful record designing a variety of building types. Our design philosophy is to provide innovative architecture based upon traditional and classical principles. We accommodate modern building technologies and the demands of contemporary lifestyles. Project types include civic, resort, commercial, custom residential, multi-family, mixed-use, religious, educational, urban design and town planning. We have established a strong relationship with a select group of engineering and design consultants which has allowed us to simplify the design coordination process and provide our clients with the highest level of service.

Much of our firm’s design reputation is based on the early success of our residential work, and most of our clients come to us through word-of-mouth referrals. Our residential work includes over thirty houses in the internationally-acclaimed Florida resort town of Seaside, and we have recently designed homes in Watercolor, Rosemary Beach, and Alys Beach. We were also selected to design Coastal Living magazine’s Idea House in 2005, and our work is often published in Southern Living, Florida Architecture, Florida Design Review, New Old House Journal, Period Homes, Custom Home and Coastal Living magazines. In addition, we have designed a large number of custom homes throughout the United States, Bahamas and the Caribbean for a select group of private clients. 

Our experience with resort, mixed-use, commercial, multi-family and town planning projects is very extensive. We provided the master plan for The Abaco Club at Winding Bay, Great Abaco, Bahamas, for Ritz Carlton, a 550-acre tropical resort and designed the buildings as well. These include a 60,000 SF Great House, a 27,000 SF Clubhouse, The Ritz-Carlton Club (20 attached cottages), two 4-unit beach houses, as well as 36 individual cottages ranging from 2200-3700 sf.; and many of the recreational and civic amenities. To the opposite climatic extreme is our design for Marriott’s Summit Watch at Park City, Utah, a significant mixed-use project consisting of 135 resort units and 50,000 SF of mixed-use commercial space. Little Harbor, a resort village on Tampa Bay is a good example of a residential community offering all of the facilities commonly found at resorts. Bradenton Village is a HOPE VI-funded infill project for the Bradenton Housing Authority and Telesis Corporation and is a multi-phase project which utilizes our master plan as well as our designs for the 160 townhouses, community buildings and various amenities. We are currently working on our 3rd phase of this project. Many additional mixed-use, commercial and planning projects help to round out our work in this category.


Our firm has extensive experience designing civic architectural projects as well. We have completed over $100 million in projects for Hillsborough County Public Schools, ranging from completely new campuses to renovations and additions. Our $15 million master plan for the Academy of the Holy Names in Tampa has won awards for planning and for historic sensitivity and preservation from the Hillsborough County Planning Commission and Tampa Preservation Inc. Our recent Fire Station and 911 Call Center for Reedy Creek Improvement District is a fine example of civic architecture. Our design for a large Catholic Church in Celebration, Florida, is already a community structure of note. We have recently provided the master plan for Jesuit High School in Tampa, and are beginning construction on its first new building. Additional community centers, churches and school projects help to complete our portfolio of civic structures.

Cooper Johnson Smith Architects has the capability to design all building types that make up the fabric of traditional towns. We believe the use of traditional and classical design principles can be applied to all building types and to planning projects, the result of which is a project of timeless character, enriching the lives of our clients and the public for many years to come. 


Our firm’s greatest strength lies in our experience in both architecture and urbanism and our understanding of the synthesis between the two interdependent disciplines. We have the unique ability to unify these two realms of the built environment and compose the interstitial spaces often referred to as urban design or civic urbanism.