Gallatin County, Montana

Minka House crowns a mountain ridge in Western Montana. Its resultant design is derived from three major form-givers, the site, a commanding and heavily wooded 20-acres with slopes of more than 30 percent falling off the ridge; a unique structural framing system inspired by Japanese traditional folk houses; and a client program which included isolation from nearby urban fabric, and an intimate response to the natural and rugged mountain environment.  Listening to the site was key. Although 20 acres would appear to accommodate numerous site diagrams, it became immediately clear that only one was appropriate…to follow the narrow ridge in a lineal spine circulation gallery which serves the living spaces on the east and west edges of dramatic steepness. Unlike many mountain ridge sites, which profile structures in an ungainly way, this heavily treed site, with its dense and mature growth of conifers, and the low sloped single and double pitched roofs, prevent the house from being visible from any distant prospect. From the house, only distant views of surrounding mountains, the valley below, intimate views of the architectural elements, and the nearness of the trees remain.  Minka, a Japanese word for folk-house, is a name given by the architect to denote a structural framing system comprised of only compression members layered in horizontal beams and vertical struts. This system, combined with the layering of the Smith modified Vierendeel truss, exemplified in the KanZan House, provide the clarity of structure which also sets up a modular cadence to the rhythms of the house. The natural quality of the wooden laminated beams and columns, and the cedar siding, reflect the organic quality of a Minka village. The architectural concrete foundation walls, the stacked bond CMU masonry fireplaces, the zinc standing seam roofing and fascia combined with extensive glass walls, contrast with the organic elements to marry the traditional to the modern.


Blaine County, Idaho.
Construction Completed 2020.

Custom home with expansive glazing allowing for dramatic views to Bald Mountain. The exposed glulam beam structure fully explores the potential of the Smith modified vierendeel truss system for snow loads and column free interior spaces. The house has PVs, glass elevator, terraces, and a zen garden.

Principal Architect: Jack Smith FAIA
Intial studies with Jessica Jellison AIA
Construction Documents and Construction Mannagement: John Montoya Architect, Ensitio Design.
Photography: Gabe Border.


Ketchum, Idaho
Completed 2018

An 1,800 sq.ft. custom home with a 625 sq.ft. two car garage located near downtown Ketchum, Idaho. The client required a master suite, his and her offices, guest accommodations and a two car garage on a very limited and highly restrictive lot. The mission was to maximize the commanding views to the surrounding mountains, near and far. Interior design and landscape design were integrated from the beginning and thoughtfully orchestrated by the Architects who designed custom built-in furniture for the project and collaborated on the landscape design. The main goal for the design was to maximize the usable area while minimizing the building footprint. The spaces are compact, but the split-level design allows for expansive spatial qualities within and the transparency expands the spaces outward, embodying the Japanese technique of ‘engawa’ to amplify the indoor/outdoor experience. The design incorporates many locally sourced materials selected for their durability and low maintenance, daylighting
strategies, efficient radiant hydronic floor heating, energy efficient lighting, and exceeds energy code standards with zero roof penetrations. The design maximizes the tight and challenging lot allowing for views to Mount Baldy from the interior at all levels as well as from the exterior balcony and terrace. The roof is warped in a hyperbolic paraboloid by virtue of a series of straight exposed glulam beams all sloping in incremental degrees from a central axis. The roof allows for proper drainage and appears to float with transparent glass between all glulam beams on the north and south facades letting daylight in and celebrating the unique roof form. The material palette includes native fir, oak paneling, limestone, local Oakley stone and patinated copper siding and roof.

Principal Architect: Jack Smith FAIA.
Architecture in collaboration with Jessica Jellison AIA.
Landscape Architecture in collaboration with Peter Ker Walker.
Photography: Tanner Houselog & Tim Brown


Blaine County, Idaho.
Construction Completed June, 2014.

This private residence is constructed of wood glue laminated beams and posts using a Smith modified vierendeel truss system. The exterior materials are architectural concrete, stucco, glass, cedar siding and corten steel flashings and fascias, all of which minimize maintenance and improve with age. The concrete and steel landscape walls to the west are intended to diminish the impact of potential snow slides and snow creep. The corten steel trellises provide sun and weather protection. The house exceeds Blaine County “Green Building” standards.

AIA Merit Award 
Idaho Chapter, 2014.
AIA Citation Award 
Montana Chapter, 2014.

Principal Architect: Jack Smith FAIA.
In collaboration with Jessica Jellison AIA.
Photography: Fred Lindholm.


Washington State.
Construction Completed Spring 2013.

This private residence is located in a northwest lakeshore setting.  It responds to the clients’ needs for an extended family and long-term guests.  It retains privacy from the street and yet opens completely to outdoor terraces, an infinity pool, and views to the lake.

Architect: Jack Smith FAIA
Associate Architect: Stillwell Hanson Architects


Sun Valley, Idaho
Completed 2005

The House at Lane Ranch is reminiscent of the arts and crafts movement which gained momentum at the end of the 19th Century. This movement and a similar one known as the”shingle style” continue to be popular even into the 21st century. These styles of architecture known for an organic and natural use of materials and hand-crafted joinery. The influence from traditional Japanese architecture is not insignificant. Honest and expressed post and beam construction, often skinned with shingled roofs and walls, is typical. Deep roof overhangs and are strained use of earth colored materials, stains and paints are also typical. The arts and crafts movement is considered to be one of the precursors of modern architecture and was founded in part by William Morris at his “Red House” in Kent England (1859). Other exemplars are Charles Renie Mackintosh of Glasgow, Scotland; The Green brothers, who were made famous by their Gamble and Blacker houses in Pasadena, California; Bernard Maybeck, Berkeley, California;Julia Morgan, Berkeley, California, and in some cases, Frank Lloyd Wright in his early work.This style of architecture was chosen by the architect for the Lane Ranch House for its contextual restraint and sympathetic use of materials in a mountain environment without the use of eclectic forms imposed on an organic and honest work


Blaine County, Idaho.
Construction Completed Fall 2004.

A residence constructed of wood post and beam, concrete, stucco, wood paneling and corrugated Cor-ten steel roof. The building is constructed on a gently sloping site with dramatic views to Bald Mountain and Boulder Mountain to the north.

AIA Honor Award in Architecture.
Idaho Chapter, 2004.

Photography: Fred Lindholm.


Bigwood, Ketchum, Idaho.
Construction Completed Spring 2000.

A residence constructed on a steep site above the Bigwood Golf Course. The house bridges a natural ravine and has spectacular views of the
mountains and valley. It is constructed of laminated wood post and beam frame and natural stone with large glass areas.


Blaine County, Idaho.
Construction Completed Fall 1999.

A residence constructed of steel frame, stucco walls, stone base and copper roofs. The building overlooks the Wood River Valley and Bald Mountain and is positioned high on a gently sloping site.

AIA Honor Award in Architecture.
Idaho Chapter, 2000.


Aurora, Oregon.
Construction Completed Fall 1999.

A primary residence constructed adjacent to the Willamette River in Aurora Oregon.


Ketchum, Idaho
Completed 1979-1980

2000 square foot residence

Award for Excellence in Architecture.
Idaho Chapter AIA Honor Awards, 1980

Photography: Fred Lindholm.


George Ranch, Sonoma, California.
Construction Completed 1994.

The Case House is constructed on a steeply sloping site which falls to the north 40 feet in height in the length of the house.  The site is covered with moss covered rock out-cropping and a forest of oak, bay and madrone trees.  Enclosing 4500 square feet of living and garage space in a single building and not exceeding the restrictive height limit of 25 feet above grade would have required the loss of major portions of trees. The design solution was to develop a campus plan of several small cottage type buildings which stair-step through the trees and rocks.  The result is a group of intimate spaces which the client requested in the program and the loss of only a few of the less significant trees.

AIA Honor Award in Architecture.
Idaho Chapter, 1994.


Blaine County, Idaho.
Construction Document Phase of Residence and Facilities 1989-1992.  Landscape Completed 1992.

River’s Edge is a multi-phased, environmentally integrated development on an eleven acre site, graded barren by a previous owner.  The program required a residence and private environmental research center to be integrated with an intensely landscaped site involving water coursers, wet-lands and experimental orchards, all of which are part of the ongoing research.  The project is also intended to be exemplary in how design professionals can collaborate with other environmental scientists to preserve and enhance our built and natural environment.

Landscape Architects: Jack Smith FAIA and Peter Ker Walker ASLA.


Gimlet, Blaine County, Idaho.
First Phase Completed 1975.
Second Phase Completed 1985.

AIA Regional Honor Award. 
Northwest and Pacific Region, 1993.
AIA State Merit Award.
Idaho Chapter, 1992.
AIA State Materials Use Merit Award. 
Idaho Chapter, 1991.

First Phase Schematic Design with Enteleki, Architecture, Planning, Research, Jack Smith Partner-in-Charge. Second Phase Darryl McMillen, Architect, Jack Smith, Consulting Architect.
Photography: Fred Lindholm.


Flowers Mill, Blaine County, Idaho.
Design Phase 1995.

A large residence of approximately 14000 square feet in Flowers Mill, a residential community near the Bigwood River.  The clients requested that a house be designed using traditional log construction but which would also reflect and house a large collection of modern sculpture and paintings. The design solution setup a collision of geometry and metaphor, of traditional and modern concepts.  The diagram is based on a 15 degree axis over a 90 degree grid which is predicated on view corridors, sun angles and land contours.  The architectural and site geometry suggest an homage to Native American diagrams and Russian Constructivism.


Sun Valley, Idaho.
Construction Completed 1978.

A small residence on Trail Creek with integrated passive solar heating.


Gimlet, Blaine County, Idaho.
Construction Completed 1978.

Architect’s house built for his family. Jury comments: “The crisp, little box once again proves to be an elegant structure happy in a modest site.  The restrained use of materials and consistent detailing contribute to the continuity of ordered yet active spaces.  There is wonderful variety in the simple frame – A superb work.”

AIA Honor Award in Architecture.
Idaho Chapter, 1982.

Jury: William L. Fletcher, FAIA, Portland, Oregon; Jane Hastings, FAIA, Seattle, Washington; Henry Klein, FAIA, Mount Vernon, Washington.


Sun Valley, Idaho.
Construction Completed 1977.

AIA Award for Excellence in Architecture.
Idaho Chapter, 1980.

Photography: Fred Lindholm.


Design Research Phase 2013.

Axiom is a projected building system for residential use in temperate and torrid climate zones. The system is composed of bolted and/or welded steel tube sections. All elements of the structural and infill panels are pre-manufactured off site. The system allows for mechanical and electrical systems to be integrated within the walls without conflict with the structural system.  The foundation system allows for construction on sloping or flat building sites. The integral trellis system provides shade and weather protection. They may also be used for vegetation suitable for each specific climate. The building system is intended to be non site specific and more universal in nature. The two to three bedroom unit shown is only one of many configurations and sizes possible with this method of building.

Renderings by: Jordan Zignego