Structural Integrity with Stofft Cooney

Architects Randall Stofft and John Cooney celebrate two decades of design ingenuity


We can’t speak about architecture in Southwest Florida without mentioning the influential efforts of Stofft Cooney, a studio that has given the Gulf Coast its most impressive private properties as it helps to usher in a new era of design for the area. Leading the charge are principals Randall Stofft and John Cooney, two individuals who continually advance their profession with each project they take on. As their firm celebrates its 20th anniversary in Naples, we spoke to the two tastemakers about the city then and now, the challenges of their industry, and what we can expect next. 

So, tell us about Naples back in 2002. What was the city’s design scene like?

Cooney: I remember it as untapped back then, with limited architecture sporadically around town. That’s about it. 

What made you want to open an office here?

Cooney: Randy, that one is yours.

Stofft: I had grown up coming to Naples and Boca Raton all my life because I had grandparents in each place. I had two or three clients that asked me to do homes for them here, and just based on that I knew it was time to have an office here.

How did you two partner up?

Stofft: John came to work for me as senior architect and his vision of the firm and architecture were so well matched with mine, I knew instantly that I wanted him to be my partner.

Cooney: We definitely clicked, and it was clear to me that Randy would be a mentor for me throughout my career.

What’s the firm’s philosophy when it comes to architecture and design?

Stofft: We believe design should stand alone, relate to site and context, fulfill clients’ requirements, and enhance lives.

Cooney: To exceed our clients’ expectations while delivering classical, timeless architecture that will stand the test of time. 

Has that changed?

Cooney: I would add that we now have an emphasis on starting trends, not following them.

What would you say Naples’ design language is?

Cooney: I see it as sophisticated and classic with a tropical twist.

Stofft: Classic, understated elegance, but pushing to tasteful tropical modern. It’s a nice mix of sophisticated Midwestern tastes that are willing to be creative. 

The Mediterranean style has had a stronghold here for a few decades, but that seems to be changing. Do you think Naples is moving on from that?

Stofft: Those heavy Mediterranean rooms and spaces have never been conducive to our clients’ lifestyles. For them, it’s glass, glass, and more glass. Our forte has been to introduce a more open and brighter feel in a timeless package. 

You two have worked all over the country. What do you make of the design sensibilities of your clientele here?

Stofft: Naples clients tend to be a little less glamorous and much more forward-thinking with their architecture.

We can’t mention architecture these days without discussing climate change. In what ways do you address current environmental issues in your work?

Cooney: Solar energy, minimal carbon footprints, and extremely efficient products are staples of our design.

Stofft: Our homes are the most innovative and technologically advanced in the planet. Designing for sun control and prevailing breezes is our specialty. 

What do you recall about your early projects in Naples before you went into business together?

Stofft: I started with two or three Port Royal homes and then some very large homes in Quail West, which got a lot of publicity in those days.

Cooney: Early in my career I interviewed for a large Port Royal home and a Captiva Beach estate. These high-end jobs set the tone for future projects.

What do you see for the firm in the next 20 years?

Stofft: I believe we will add a few more key people.

Cooney: Ideally, continued architectural excellence.

At the end of the day, what makes you want to come into the office day after day?

Cooney: The fact that every client, property, and design is unique. Nothing in our profession is monotonous.

Stofft: I love the design process and our projects get more challenging every day. I love art, so if I wasn’t doing this, I’d be a starving artist.

Story Credits:

Text by Luis R. Rigual

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