By focusing on our clients and their operators, we provide functional control rooms that promote vigilance and life safety.

We design control buildings for refining, manufacturing,
production, and monitoring 24/7 operations.

We integrate people, process, and specialized knowledge to create safe, functional, and distinctive facilities.



In 2002, founder Mike Smith purchased a small architectural practice with the intention to practice architecture again rather than being distracted with the likes of HR and commercial aspects of a larger practice.  When Mike began Smith LaRock Architecture (SLA), he was able to focus on his passion of design once again.  Looking for something more, something worthwhile, something important outside the typical commercial or residential design practices, his goal was working in a market niche.

Control Rooms: Opportunity Comes A Knocking

An opportunity came knocking…a previous client working for a Fortune 50 petrochemical company heard of Mike’s new venture and knowing of Mike’s background with industrial facilities asked him to consider offering control building design services as well as other facilities in the industrial market.  Mike agreed and redirected his young firm towards the control buildings we continue to specialize in today.  Mike wasn’t planning on becoming a boutique firm but he found what he was looking for in his career that met his goals to be more than just a building.  He found his “worthwhile” niche – LIFE SAFETY, all because of the encouragement of that one phone call.

Plant Facility Architect Specialist

Along the way, SLA became the go-to firm not only Control Buildings for the Process Control Industry but for all building types inside the plant.  To put it plainly – we are the experts for your facility.  We offer design and engineering for all types of facilities in both blast and non-blast resistant designs:

  • Control Buildings
  • Laboratories
  • Multi-Use Office/Administration facilities
  • Maintenance Facilities
  • Warehouses
  • Emergency Medical/Fire structures
  • …and any other buildings needed for your project.

24×7 Control Room Facilities | Designed For Human Factor

Recognizing that our 24×7 control facilities were our wheelhouse projects, we required key human factor solutions be blended into the architectural design. To complement our own capabilities in Human Factors, SLA partnered with specialized human factor consultants to deliver the best solutions with the best resources in our projects, and along the way, reinvented several aspects of control room best practices.

Have questions? Contact SLA to get answers!

SLA Stats



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(Plus several Labs, Maint Shops, Warehouses and Man-Camp Residences)

(combined staff architectural practice)
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to meet ISO 11064 & best practices.


We design for the technical industry exclusively.  Our entire team keeps its focus on the Control Building and Industrial Facility niche.  We feel you can’t be an expert in something if it’s not what you practice day in and day out.

We believe the life safety our projects provide is the most important of what we do.  Our design process and considerations of the right type can help improve the working environment in any building, and thus benefits the Users.  Through partnering with Human Factors specialists, we apply our knowledge about 24×7 environments to other structures as well.  It stands to reason that proper lighting, acoustics, and ventilation coupled with colors and materials that promote alertness and therefore improve Health, Safety, and Environmental (HSE) factors for the people affected by a new facility is a key benefit.  We can achieve this outcome while also delivering the primary programmatic goals of your project, our clients benefit in ways they did not plan or foresee.

Designing for industrial facilities is significantly different than designing for commercial or residential structures; you don’t want architects with limited knowledge on this important project!  Industrial facilities have very specific needs and missions in mind and the design must be optimized for that mission.  That is why we at Smith LaRock start with a series of programming workshops where we uncover and examine the Owner’s needs and intended use of their facility, the workflow within the facility, the access and safety consideration for the workers within the facility, and the myriad blending of human and technology design factors that make the facility an effective design solution while creating a comfortable and safe place to work.


SLA’s philosophy is to provide you expert service and solutions that work, nothing more. We believe that the life safety of your occupants is the utmost priority.

We provide architectural design for our technical industrial clients that help promote life safety for your occupants. Whether control room design, full building design, adaptive reuse or renovation & addition projects, we offer a team of experienced consultants capable of delivering your project that meets your needs!

We feel you can’t be an expert in something if you dabble in several areas. Why go to a general practitioner for brain surgery? SLA specializes in your market, we are the experts in Control Building Design.

How We Do It

Most architectural firms design using a macro to micro approach. SLA does the opposite and starts at the focal point of our projects – the operators.

We start small at the Human to Machine Interface (HMI) level for operator/console interaction. Then we focus on required operator and consoles adjacencies for the control room. Followed by control room lighting and acoustics to help promote operator vigilance during long 24×7 shifts. We then continue to step out into the control suite (control room supporting program) and eventually the remaining of the building program.

Our process has utilized 3D BIM modeling for over eleven years and provides our clients a building that harmonizes all the parts and pieces supporting our original focus – the operators and safety in your plant.

Where we Work?

Where is your project located? Yes – we can work there!

Smith LaRock is licensed in 20 states, Canada, and overseas. We work worldwide and through our national NCARB and CACB affiliations, we can acquire additional professional registrations as required for your project. We will ensure we have adequate licensing in the project location to provide our services for your project.

Our 3D DistanceDesign™ incorporates 3D BIM modeling as an early design and communication tool used throughout the project. SLA has developed a design process that creates successful communication on our projects with our clients, worldwide.

Don’t hesitate to contact us, chances are, we already work in your project location


  • "Smith LaRock was hired to create a Revit library for our products. The library was recently loaded into our new website, and the feedback on the quality of work on those models has been very positive. We are extremely satisfied with Smith LaRock’s attention to detail and communication throughout that process to ensure the models were as accurate as possible. They did a great job!"

    Lee Webster
    Lee Webster Labdesign | Chief Estimator
  • "Ergon Refining, Inc. contracted with SLA to perform IFC design of 2 blast resistant buildings on site at our refinery.  The first was to house our Process Operations Center, Safety personnel, and Operations break and locker room area and the second was a complete re-vamp of our refinery guardhouse.  We received a very high level of service from the beginning over a wide range of fields.  Everything from effective project management to innovative design solutions was handled by first class professionals who were both extremely knowledgeable and personable.  All project deliverables were produced on time with no delays to any project milestones and no effects to project budget.  I would highly recommend SLA to anyone because of their customer focused approach, high quality design work, and exceptional project team."

    Stephen Warner
    Stephen Warner Ergon Mississipi | Project Engineer
  • "We work with many architectural consultants in our industry so when we come across exceptionally good people and great firms we think it important to share.  Lorne Bourdo and his team at Smith LaRock continually brought forward thinking concepts to our control center project.  In addition, they have been advocates of our DIRTT interior pre-fabricated construction solution and shared project details in an efficient and timely manner.   Truly, Lorne has been a pleasure to partner with and we look forward to working together with Smith LaRock in the future."

    Kathie Funk
    Kathie Funk American Interiors | Account Executive
  • "SLA is very knowledgeable in both theory and practice.  SLA knew inside out and worked along the construction as it progressed.  SLA was willing and had worked extra time and worked outside the requiring time to discuss and resolve countless inquiries on this project.  Your rapid response and clearly clarify the issue as you guys always have done is very impressive. I have been so fortunate to work with you guys."

    Pimarn Charnvarn
    Pimarn Charnvarn Bantrel
  • "I have had the pleasure of working with Smith LaRock Architecture on 2 different occasions, first to build our original Main Control Building and then, years later, to renovate the same building. On both occasions I found their staff to be very knowledgeable and skilled, and the quality and service we received was no different for the renovation than it was for the original building. They conduct themselves as true professionals, delivering a quality design on schedule at a reasonable cost. I look forward to working with them in the future, and highly recommend their services."

    Senior Engineer Major Oilsands Operation in Canada (Confidentiality a requirement for this company)
  • "In regard to the great work you guys did for us in North Dakota at our Tioga Gas Plant.  Impressive, it's clearly the best control room we have in Hess."

    Dave w/ Hess
    Dave w/ Hess Hess Corporation
  • "I have worked with Smith LaRock Architecture P.C. on projects in Alberta, Canada.  Their staffs are skilled, experienced and knowledgeable.  The comments from them are insightful.  I have no doubt that they can provide professional service of high standing.  I’m looking forward to working with them again in the future."

    Glen Peng
    Glen Peng AGN Engineering | Project Engineer
  • "The quality of your service is top of the line.  I enjoy working with Smith LaRock Architecture PC; the coordination with your company is seamless and you’re always on top of the situation.  We would not hesitate teaming up with your company again."

    Rex Dimaano
    Rex Dimaano Magna IV | Mechanical & Electrical Engineer
  • "Smith LaRock completed two grass roots projects for one of our California facilities. One project was a centralized control room and the other was a 72,000 Sq Ft multi-craft maintenance facility with offices. Both projects were designed thru IFC DWGs and construction support for RFI during construction. Both projects exceeded our expectations. Smith LaRock also completed a project for us at Salt Lake City where the original Architect was not performing and needed to be replaced. I've worked with a number of Architects, the unique difference with Smith LaRock is their ability to turn rough concepts and ideas into a functional reality. I recommend their services and would use them again without question. Service Category: Architect Year first hired: 2004 (hired more than once). Top Qualities: Great Results, Expert, High Integrity"

    Tom Chunat
    Tom Chunat Tesoro Corp
  • "Ergon West Virginia, Inc. was under construction with a remodeling effort of our Central Control Room. SLA was contacted to provide some input as to the layout of the operator's area. They were proided with a limited scope and a very tight schedule. Given these constraints, what we received was a very high level of input and details over a full range of interior design requirements. This included furniture design options, room layouts, lighting recommendations, acoustic considerations and HVAC improvements. The team provided by SLARC was very impressive in their wide range of skills and ability to pull a tremendous amount of information together in a short time frame. We are very pleased with the association we have had with SLARC and would recommend them highly."

    Benjamin Jezovnik
    Benjamin Jezovnik Ergon West Virginia
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