Rob Carty of TMS Architects in Portsmouth NH | Architecture Portfolio

TMS Architecture Portsmouth NH

Rob Carty’s love for the outdoors, not just buildings, motivated him to choose the University of Colorado for his master’s degree in architecture.

Some 15 years later, Carty, a principal at Portsmouth, N.H.-based TMS Architects, is still splitting his time between building design and the outdoors. He designs residential and commercial projects for TMS, and he has been instrumental in incorporating more sustainable architecture and materials into the firm’s work.

So what is Carty excited about these days? Not surprisingly, it’s a trend in contemporary architecture that incorporates some natural, outdoor elements. Learn more about Carty, his style and his interests in this latest Designer Discourse.

Rob Carty TMS Architecture

Q: What drew you to architecture?

A: A lot of people say, “I started thinking about it when I was a little kid,” but it’s kind of true. Taking art classes in the ninth, tenth, eleventh grades, I can specifically remember there was one art teacher who said, “Rob, you know, you should probably look at being an architect.” I said, “What?” But I always liked building things, and I also liked art.

Q: What’s your favorite well-known building?

A: The Milwaukee Art Museum. It may not be really well known, but it’s well known by architects.

Q: What’s your least favorite well-known building?

Architecture Portsmouth NH TMS

A: There have been many buildings that I’ve seen and said, “Oh, god. That’s awful.” But I can’t say I have a particular least favorite. There have been lots of times when I see a building that’s just out there for profit, and there’s such little effort put into design. 

Q: What trends are you seeing now in residential architecture?

A: I’m actually starting to see a trend - and it’s kind of exciting - where people seem to be wanting to move a little more contemporary on the interiors but use more reclaimed woods. Not just beams, but using reclaimed wood and reclaimed stone for accent walls and different parts of the architecture while keeping the interior kind of contemporary. Reusing barn doors, too. I see a lot of that sort of stuff.

Q: What keeps you busy outside of work?

A: Life (laughing). But I have two kids, and this winter we did a lot of skiing. We do a lot of outdoor stuff.

Q: Describe the project you’re most proud of.

TMS Portsmouth New Hampshire Architecture

A: There’s a residence I did down on the North Shore - a really large renovation. It was an old, historic property. It was a complicated project. We had historical issues; we had waterfront setback issues. And just the size and complexity and schedule - that was a good project to work on.

Q: If you weren’t an architect, what would you be doing?

A: I’d probably be sitting on a beach somewhere (laughing). You mean an alternate career? I’d probably try to find something in the life sciences or an outdoor type of career, whether it’s wildlife management or something like that.