SmithGroup, established in Detroit, Michigan, the United States in 1853 by principal architect Sheldon Smith alongwith Luckett and Farley, is an international architectural, engineering and planning firm. The group was concentrated in North America till 2013 but then, went international by opening an office in Shanghai, China, in December 2013 and now has 15 offices and over 1300 employees. According to the official magazine of AIA, Architect Magazine, Smithgroup was ranked as the 6th largest architecture /engineering firm in the U.S in the year of 2018.

SmithGroup has won many awards in the past which includes American Institute of Architects (AIA), American Planning Association (APA), American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), International Interior Design Association (IIDA), Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design Awards, American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), Rethinking The Future Awards, and many more. Smithgroup is a renowned name when it comes to sustainable designs and has designed over 100 LEED certified buildings.

1. Oakland University Engineering Centre by SmithGroup

Location: Rochester, Michigan, United States
Client: Oakland University
Area: 1, 34,200 sq. Ft.

The design of Oakland university’s new facility for the school of engineering and computer sciences (secs) is bold, vibrant, welcoming and provides advanced technologies for academic engineering studies. A sustainable mechanical and electrical system expresses new technology honestly and invitingly. Many smaller spaces feature very bold designs with strong attention to detail.

The building by SmithGroup features a tri-generation system that uses natural gas to generate electricity for some parts of the building; the recovered heat from the electricity generation provides heating and cooling, as well as hot water and emergency power. This system is combined with a chilled-beam system and a heat pump. This complete system is the first of its kind. Additionally, 21.6 kW of photovoltaic are mounted on the roof, to significantly reduce annual energy costs and the university’s carbon footprint.


Oakland University Engineering Centre, Rochester, Michigan

2. University of Arkansas Champions Hall

Location: Fayetteville, united states
Client: University of Arkansas
Area: 67,277sq.ft.
Year: 2015

The growing number of students led to the demand of champions’ hall, the building was named so to give honor to the supporters of the project i.e. The athletics department. The four-story building incorporates nine general-purpose classrooms, 12 biology labs, and the math resource and teaching center. The center includes a testing center, office space for faculties and a teaching center for math. In addition to all this, the building also hosts an impressive display of public art. According to Todd Shields, the dean of J. William Fulbright College of arts and sciences “champion hall is an intersection of the arts and sciences”.


University of Arkansas Champions Hall, Arkansas

3. National Museum of African American History and Culture by SmithGroup

Client: Smithsonian institution
Location: Washington, dc
Area: 3, 50,000 sq.ft.
Year: 2016

The museum was established in December 2003 and went through a renovation in 2012; the museum was again opened in September 2016 for the public. The renovated five-storeyed museum house exhibition galleries, administrative spaces, theatre space, and collections storage space.

The exterior of the museum is wrapped in an ornamental bronze lattice whose frames lean outward and consist of a thin screen or “scrim” perforated by geometrical patterns based on historic African American craftsmanship. The building was the first museum on the mall designed according to the sustainability standards, in 2018; the museum was awarded leed gold certification.

National Museum of African American History and Culture - Smithgroup

National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, dc

4. Museum of the Bible

Client: Museum of the Bible
location: Washington, dc
Area: 4, 30,000 sq ft
Year: 2017

What we see now as the museum of the bible is the renovation made to the warehouse built-in 1922. Opened for the public on 17th Nov 2017, the museum is now major cultural landmarks to southwest Washington.

The eight-story museum is resolutely modern and is far more than just a museum. It incorporates exhibition spaces, a theatre, restaurant, ballroom, a six-story atrium, and a two-storey glass roof. The primary circulation core is bright yet tranquil which provides visitors a place to repose and an opportunity to reorient themselves. The core leads to the rooftop which includes a restaurant, special event spaces, and a large performing arts theater.

museum of the bible -Smithgroup

Museum of the Bible, Washington, dc

5. National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) by SmithGroup

Client: Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund
location: Bethesda, Maryland
Area: 72,000 sq ft
Year: 2017

NICoE is a two-storey building that facilitates Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) patients at Bethesda’s national naval medical center and is leed silver certified.  The building includes clinics; imaging facilities; spaces for physical therapy including gym, outdoor rehabilitation, and virtual-reality-assisted rehabilitation; offices; separate patient and family lounge and coffee bar; and the big sky lit multipurpose space.

The building is designed in a way to offers healing spaces not just for physical needs, but also for the emotional and spiritual needs of patients, families, and caregivers by integrating family activity zones, natural light and a balance of large and small areas. The interior presents a peaceful environment that is supported by a central park with natural vegetation, rock features, and wooden walkways.

National Intrepid Center of Excellence -Smithgroup

National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICOE), Bethesda, Maryland

6. DC Water Headquarters

Client: District of Columbia Water and sewer authority
Location: Washington, dc
Year: 2018
Area: 1, 50,000 sq ft

Design for the new headquarters of dc water demonstrates that modern civic architecture can be beautiful, sustainable, and efficient. The curvilinear plan is derived from the need to protect the existing mid-20th century pumping station along the northern edge of the site, as there wasn’t enough space to avoid the existing structure. Although the building appears curvilinear, the facade consists of 4’wide planar modules, each containing either a pane of glass or a metal panel. The glass façade allows ample daylight to penetrate deep into offices and the green rooftop of the building reduces stormwater runoff by absorption of the rainwater.

The heat captured from the flowing wastewater in the winter will be used as a heat sink in summer by an innovative wastewater thermal recovery system.

DC Water Headquarters -SmithGroup

DC Water Headquarters, Washington, DC

7. Chandler City Hall

Client: City of chandler
Location: Chandler, Arizona
Year: 2010
Area: 1, 37,700 sq ft

While other communities concentrated on development in growing areas, chandler, Arizona chose to save money for 20 years to restore the significance of its downtown and opened its renovated chandler city hall for the public in 2015 without issuing any bonds or debts for the construction of the project.

The five-storeyed hall houses new council chambers, administrative offices, a public television studio, and parking structure. The structure comprises of pyramidal acoustic ceilings, a shaded mezzanine for receptions and events, and a daring kinetic sculpture adorning the entirety of a street-facing facade, altering hall’s appearance with the sun’s movement. The complex was one of the first leed-gold city halls in the nation.

Chandler City Hall -1

Chandler City Hall, Chandler, Arizona

8. 1700 New York Avenue NW

Client: Carr properties
Location: Washington, d.c.
Area: 1, 20,000sq ft
Year: 2013

1700 New York avenue is an award-winning LEED gold certified, commercial office space with fitness center and rooftop seating built on an irregular site which is in between two buildings which were left like a missing puzzle piece waiting for the right one to fit in. Several plans were revised and modified before reaching to this masterpiece.

The ground floor of the building is the living room of SmithGroup and space buzzes with a lot of activities like hosting meetings, conferences, networking events and informational seminars on the architectural, interior and engineering disciplines.

1700 New York Avenue NW, Washington, d.c.

9. National Renewable Energy Laboratory Energy Systems Integration Facility

Client: US Department of Energy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
location: Golden, Colorado
Area: 1, 82,000 sq.ft.
Year: 2013

The building is a model in sustainable design and energy-efficient performances for the world. The architects had two major challenges while designing the building, first an aging energy grid and increasing consumer demand for renewable energy.

The design targeted low energy consumption rates, a wide range of advanced technologies were used and best practices were made to balance the building’s energy and performance goals. Waste heat from the data center is exported to several parts of the premises and is also reused to provide warmth during winters. Vertical and horizontal exterior shading devices are designed to control daylight entering inside the building and lights are shut down during daytime (10:00 am to 2:00 pm) daily in the office and laboratory buildings.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory Energy Systems Integration Facility - Smithgroup

National Renewable Energy Laboratory Energy Systems Integration Facility, Golden, Colorado

10. Botanika Nature Residences by SmithGroup

Client: Filinvest development
Location: Filinvest Corporate City, Philippines
Area: 1.55 hectares
Year: 2018

The luxurious residential and commercial project reinterprets the tropical version of the “tower in a park” the project represents the balance between nature and the built environment.

Built on 1.55 hectares, the project houses three residential, mid-rise, low-density condominium buildings, a business center and other amenities like spa, meditative garden, clubhouse, gym, amphitheater, and tiered swimming pools.

The design was broken into three curvilinear buildings that blend with a lush garden environment. Each of the 370 luxury units is connected to the garden visually, and every flat has views each outward toward the town and inward toward the green expanse.

Botanika Nature Residences, Filinvest Corporate City, Philippines

11. Sea Breeze Verandas at Anvaya Cove

Client: Ayala land premier, inc
Location: Anvaya cove, Philippines
Area: 470 hectares

Sea breeze verandas are the low rise condominium in Anvaya cove which is a luxurious leisure community housing wide range of residential units along with golf and sports club and resort.

Sea breeze veranda is a cluster of five low rise buildings with four to five floors in each building. The design of each building resembles “manor house” and ensures that all have views of the golf course and the seaside beyond. Efforts have been made to use most of the locally available materials such as reinforced concrete combined with stucco and stonework which is used in the facade, and the roof tiles were also sourced regionally.

Sea Breeze Verandas at Anvaya Cove, Anvaya cove, Philippines

12. Gansu Provincial Women and Children International Hospital Complex

Client: Gansu women and infant hospital
Location: Gansu, China
Area: 32, 29,175sq ft
Year: 2017

The Gansu provincial woman & child international hospital is a medical complex specialized in mother and child care in Gansu. It was designed to bring three hospitals onto one campus — women and children’s hospital, a pediatrics hospital, and a general acute care hospital — under a unifying concept that integrates elements of nature and Feng Shui. The concept of the project was itself the site and its location.

The interiors of the spaces are calm and naturally lit while the outdoor area covered with therapeutic gardens and tranquility.

Gansu Provincial Women and Children International Hospital Complex - Smithgroup

Gansu Provincial Women and Children International Hospital Complex, Gansu, China

13. Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Headquarters

Client: Mercedes-Benz financial services
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Year: 2019
Area: 200,000sq. Ft.

SmithGroup thought that flexibility was the key to the challenge of designing the interior of the space for approx.1000 employees. Casual collaborative spaces are provided where employees can work away from their desks, including exterior patios and balconies; spaces are dedicated which are large enough to accommodate all-employee “town meetings.”

The interior is rich with several amenities like a full-service kitchen for dining in a centralized area that spills out onto the south-facing terrace with lake views; a full-service fitness center with locker rooms and a coffee bar.

The people-centric design emphasizes the ease of vertical and horizontal movement while providing desired long-term flexibility.

Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Headquarters, Fort Worth, Texas

14. Mosso Apartments by SmithGroup

Client: Avant housing
Location: San Francisco, California
Year: 2015

Mosso apartments comprise of two buildings,900 Folsom and 400 Clementina, both separated by Clementina alley. 900 Folsom is the larger one with 281 units, including two-level townhouses and work/live loft spaces. Unlike 900 Folsom, slightly warmer materials and colors are used in 400 Clementina, the 182-unit building which has large corner units that are expressed with angled balconies. The whole project is leed gold certified.

The design also incorporates a mid-block pocket park, for the use of residents of both buildings and the public alike. Other sustainable features of the project are green roofs and courtyards, bicycle storage with changing rooms, electric car charging stations, and use of renewable energy like photovoltaic cells and wind turbines and high-performance rain screen facades.

Mosso Apartments, San Francisco, California

15. Arts & Industries Building Revitalization

Client: Smithsonian institution
Location: Washington, dc
Year: 2016
Area: 12,000 sq ft

Although the building was first opened in 1881 after being renovated, the building again opened in the spring of 2016 for events and exhibitions. A new steel structure was installed to enlarge the original iron trusses and to improve seismic and wind load. In the interiors, extraneous infill walls were removed and elegant arched openings were revived to recreate the original sightlines, allowing interiors to bask in natural light. Some sustainable elements like aluminum windows with steel framing and energy-efficient insulation to the roof structure were also added.

Arts & Industries Building Revitalization, Washington, dc


Aditi Garg is pursuing final year of B.arch and believes in sustainable architectural practices. She came to RTF while discovering architectural journalism and is passionate about documenting ideas and architecture.

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