Carson Smuts


Carson Smuts is a South African born Architect and Designer. Currently a Research Scientist at MIT’s MediaLab specializing in Architectural science and the development of digital design instruments. His current work explores reinforcing the link between man and machine in a design process. As a researcher in the field of responsive design and space, his focus is the development of user interfaces through both hardware and software that leverage the unique abilities of both man and machine, creating a symbiotic relationship. This includes sensory applications that involve data acquisition, activity recognition, proximity based systems and wireless communications. Carson is competent in data analysis, embedded environmental systems, desktop and mobile software programming, computer vision, industrial design/fabrication, as well as architecture and urban planning.

Carson is also an Adjunct Assisting Professor at Columbia University teaching architectural studio.


  • Columbia University -GSAPP, New York — MSAAD (Masters of Science Advanced Architectural Design) 2011
  • University of Cape Town, South Africa — BAS (Bachelor of Architectural Studies) 2004
  • University of Cape Town, South Africa — BArch (Bachelor of Architecture) 2007
  • PLDA Workshop – (Professional Lighting Design Association or Europe) –  Practical Design Workshop – Norway 2009

Honors + Awards

  • 2011        Computing/Media/Design Award –  Innovative use of computing media in architectural research, design and fabrication. GSAPP (Columbia University)
  • 2011        Honor Award for Excellence in Design – GSAPP (Columbia University)
  • 2010        Carol Boyes – Design Competition –  1st Place – “Metal Functional Art”
  • 2009        Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA)’s  – grant awarded

Project: Third Worlds: Model Cities

Tessa Dowling (Professor of South African Languages at UCT), Harry Garuba (Professor of English and African Studies at UCT), Svea Josephy (Senior Lecturer at Michaelis School of Fine Art), architect and lecturer Noeleen Murray and architect Carson Smuts.

  • 2008        Haute Lumiere Lighting Design Competition –  1st Place – “Standing Lamp”
  • 2007        Bombay Sapphire Designer Glass Competition – 3rd Place – “Martini Glass”
  • 2001        Matriculating Art Award of distinction – graduating class at St. Georges Grammar School


VISI – Design, Decor and Architecture

  • Issue      : #43   2009
  • Article    :  “Carson Smuts and Anja Zajaczkowska”  – Page 44
  • Subject  :  Profile piece on our work and design

VISI – Design, Decor and Architecture

  • Issue      : #39 November 2008
  • Article    :  “Everything Illuminated”  – Page 45
  • Subject  :  Haute Lighting Design Competition results – our winning design

Architecture SA

  • Issue     :  “Integration and Transformation in Education” – November 2004
  • Article   :  “Including a Digital Agenda” by Dr. Nicholas Coetzer , Page 18
  • Subject : The impact of digital technology in the ‘School of Architecture’

VISI – Design, Decor and Architecture

  • Issue      :   January 2008
  • Article    :  “Bombay Sapphire Martini Glass” – Page 32
  • Subject  :  Bombay Sapphire Design Competition results – finalists

Work Experience

2014-To Date Research Scientist,   M.I.T  Media lab , CAMBRIDGE, United States

  • Research and development environmental sensor systems. Visualizing human activity 3-Dimensions, creating hardware and software UI tools that allow people to explore sensor data.
  • Programming software for spatial mapping, analysis and visualization of realtime data – mapping/visualizing social media data within the CityScope platform (Real-Time data observatory).
  • Day-to-day research in the area of urban mobility with a focus on electric, shared, autonomous vehicles. Research on vehicle 2 vehicle infrastructure.
  • Coordinating research within Changing Places on urban mobility with sponsors (Ford motor company)
  • Developing 3D user Interface design, machine vision – JAVA , C++.
  • App development iOS
  • Electronics + PCB design and prototyping
  • Assisting in workshop courses

2013-2015 Adjunct Assis. Professor ,   Columbia university , NEW YORK, United States

  • Masters Advanced Architectural Design Studio (Final Year)
  • Masters Architectural Housing (2nd Year)
  • Developing spatial mapping software (C# , Rhino3D).
  • Teaching Adv. Architectural studio – digital design and software (Algorithmic design and social media data mapping.)
  • Teaching Elective on Data manipulation and control in a Parametric environment.
  • Summer workshops on urban mobility and  in South Africa (Johannesburg and Cape Town).

2012 PROFESSOR , MONTANA STATE university , MONTANA, United States

  • Advanced Architectural Design Studio –  (Summer semester)
  • Teaching studio design, digital design and software (Parametric Algorithms)
  • Rhino3D, vb.NET, Grasshopper
  • ++ also Teaching Elective on Data manipulation and control in a Parametric environment.

2011 + 2012 Associate in Architecture, Columbia university , NEW YORK, United States

  • Masters Advanced Design Studio
  • Teaching studio design, digital design and software (Algorithmic design in social media API’s.)
  • Processing, Rhino3D, vb.NET, Grasshopper
  • with Prof. Mario Gooden

2008-2009   DESIGN architect, PEERUTIN architects cape town, south africa

  • Design Architect
  • Scope of work included concept design, City Council submissions, documentation and presentations.
  • Focus on business parks, hotels and apartment developments
  • Main projects include Black River Park, Wembley Square (Phase 2), Herchel Walk Apartments.

2005-2009    Freelance Architect and Industrial Design, Cape town, south africa

  • Architectural private work, renovations and presentation work.
  • Developing Point of Sale stand designs for large corporations such as Lindt, Redbull and Coke Cola.
  • Designing branded product concepts for company marketing such as Wine coolers, Trays and Bottles.
  • Prototyping and developing working electronic products for manufacture.
  • Furniture and lamp designs in competitions and through private work.

2005-2006    Junior architect, Ahmed Janahi architects  Cape Town, south africa

  • Junior Architect during mentorship year between my Bachelor of Architectural Studies and Bachelor of Architecture  degrees.
  • Worked within teams on national and international projects in Oman, Bahrain and Dubai.
  • Scope of work included architectural concept proposals, design and presentation.
  • Focus on projects ranging from high rise buildings to large scale city developments.
© 2015 Studio Smuts - conceptual explorations of evolving dimensions