Smith finds design passion in helping communities

Feature profile for Emphasis: Architects & Engineers in The Memphis Daily News

Oct. 12, 2013

When reflecting on why he chose to become an architect, Stewart Smith tells a story of his father who could draw and had an industrial design background.

Smith became intrigued with the drawing and enjoyed the activity himself. But he also talks of a childlike draw to Mike Brady, patriarch of “The Brady Bunch.”

“He was an architect and he had the cool clothes and he had a great family,” Smith said. “He was smart and all these sorts of things, so that was a little bit of influence.”

His main influence, however, was a family friend who was an architect and who designed the Smiths’ home in Lebanon, Mo. At the impressionable age of 13, Smith watched those architectural drawings go from concept to reality, and it is something that has stuck with him.

“It’s probably a little bit of everything, but that’s how I got excited about it,” he said.

Now an architect with A2H, Smith is working on a high school in Ripley, Tenn., Federal Emergency Management Agency shelters in six elementary schools in DeSoto County, and medical facilities throughout Memphis, including a clinic for the Baptist Medical Group at the site of the old post office on Union Avenue in Midtown.

A2H works on a broad range of projects, from fire stations to Downtown renovations, but for Smith, his passion lies in those that help communities. It’s a philosophy of his, and one he shares with A2H.

“What they really care about and strive for is creating an enhanced quality of life for the client and communities,” he said.

That drive took him out of Lebanon, with its population just more than 5,000, and on to Kansas State University for a Bachelor of Architecture. Upon graduation, he took a job with HOK Sport and worked on ballparks for the Chicago White Sox (U.S. Cellular Field) and Baltimore Orioles (Camden Yards). He then went back to school for his Master of Architecture from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, graduating in 1994.

He moved to Atlanta at the time when that city was building up its Summer Olympics venues . . . (read more)