AIA SD Firm Feature

TSP, Inc.

Please provide an overview of your firm.

TSP is a multidisciplinary architectural, engineering, planning, and interior design firm that exists to make our communities better, by design. Through teamwork, service, and passion, we listen and develop a deep understanding of each client’s “why.” We collaborate with them to build trust-based relationships and discover solutions that combine form, function, and economy. To learn more, visit online.

What is the role of architects at your organization, and what should people know about them?

TSP is a service leader whose architects work collaboratively with engineers, interior designers, and design-technology specialists as part of a single, fully integrated company. Architects often facilitate these teams. This arrangement means our architects can create realizable designs earlier, focusing on the right building systems and interior functionality as each project takes shape. TSP architects are deeply invested in the performance of the completed facilities, from space programming to post-occupancy walk-throughs with engineering colleagues and facilities staff.

As trusted advisors, TSP architects support and help define each client’s vision of what they want their project to become. Our roots run deep in South Dakota. We’re designing the places where our neighbors will live, work, learn, play, worship, heal, and come together as civic partners. Developing a comprehensive understanding of a community’s needs enables our architects to draw on our own daily experiences as well as conversations with stakeholders.

TSP architects also invest in those who come next. Our internal mentorship program, scholarships for MArch students, and participation in design critiques all contribute to our status as an AIA Emerging Professionals-Friendly firm. Three TSP architects currently serve as mentors for designers-in-the-making through the AIA Student Chapter at South Dakota State University.

What type of projects does your organization focus on?

We’ve dedicated ourselves to pursuits that hold the greatest potential for communities: healthcare/wellness, education, and community projects that uplift our quality of life.
We find the greatest success when we use our skills and passion to develop the single best solution that meets a client’s needs. Our team ensures that spaces, systems, layouts, finishes, furniture, and technology function as a whole.

Share some notable projects.

South Dakota School for the Blind & Visually Impaired New Campus: Aberdeen, SD. Our team collaborated closely with Chris Downey, an architect who lost his vision, to embed tactile elements and functional specialties into this all-new campus with indoor/outdoor learning spaces and a dormitory. The exterior features not only vibrant color, but also more subtle brick fenestrations and Braille-inspired articulation that our team developed using 3D printing technology.

South Dakota School for the Blind & Visually Impaired New Campus (Aberdeen, SD)
Copyright 2021 TSP, Inc. All rights reserved.

Sanford Health Clinic: Harrisburg, SD. Our firm’s multidisciplinary approach enabled us to take this primary-care clinic from the client’s general idea to bid set of Construction Documents in nine weeks. It will be the first clinic in this growing community south of Sioux Falls, with a Lewis Drug retail pharmacy directly attached. As part of the project, TSP and other project-team partners are engaging high school students enrolled in the local district’s Home Builders Academy or who are interested in related careers.

Sanford Health Clinic (Harrisburg, SD)
Copyright 2021 TSP, Inc. All rights reserved.

South Dakota School of Mines & Technology Foundation Pearson Alumni Center: Rapid City, SD. This facility houses offices for the Foundation and the Alumni Association as well as a large conference space, meeting rooms of various sizes, and multiple covered patios to provide additional event or overflow space. TSP architects collaborated closely with our in-house engineers to design a two-story solution that fits the sloping site, with easy access to the lobby from a street-side entry and a second entrance that welcomes guests from the parking lot to the second level.

South Dakota School of Mines & Technology Foundation Pearson Alumni Center (Rapid City, SD)
Copyright 2021 TSP, Inc. All rights reserved.

Describe the culture of your firm/organization.

TSP’s people are committed to our craft, our clients, and our team members—always putting we before me. We carry forward our founder’s credo to “design it like we own it.” In fact, we adopted a majority employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) in 2020. Employee ownership reflects our team members’ deep personal accountability to one another and to providing value for our clients.

TSP architects also are actively involved in our communities, and we participate in regular local volunteerism efforts. Architects and other team members at each office help nominate and then select the year’s charities and events. Past partnerships include Special Olympics South Dakota, Feeding South Dakota, Habitat for Humanity, and The Banquet.

Describe the history of your firm/organization.

TSP was founded on a few beliefs that still resonate with team members in communities across the Upper Midwest―including offices in Sioux Falls, Rapid City, and Watertown. Harold “Spitz” Spitznagel began his practice with $20 in capital and a $15-per-month rental price on an office in downtown Sioux Falls. Spitz recognized the need to integrate form and function, bringing full-time engineers and interior designers into his practice in the early 1950s. By the time he retired in the 1970s, the firm had grown from a one-man shop to a formal partnership with trusted colleagues and offices spanning multiple states. In the decades since then, TSP has proactively sought strategic mergers with like-minded companies and provided opportunities for enterprising employees to establish new offices in communities with emerging project needs. We celebrated our 90th year in 2020 with virtual activities for employees and created a neighborhood map so community members could take a self-guided walking tour of historic Spitz homes in Sioux Falls.

What makes your firm/organization unique?

TSP is a true multidisciplinary firm Every project is unique. We believe the best designs are built around―and with―the people they’ll serve. That’s why we engage all key stakeholders to foster individual ownership and transparency among project-team members. Unlocking this combined knowledge and sharing it with the full design group leads to a clear understanding of the problems to be solved.

During our nine decades, TSP has had only five CEOs—including our founder. Two previous top leaders remained on staff years after their last day in the C-suite, attesting to their belief in the firm and the client relationships we’ve continued building together.

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