Looking Back


An Upstart Firm for 160 Years.
What a legacy we have in our name. Sheldon Smith, born in 1818 and enamored with architecture, sensed opportunity in the newly formed states and growing territories. Smith migrated from Ohio to Detroit, a Great Lakes port city that bustled with industry and new wealth, to pursue his vocation.

Little did Smith know his firm would thrive for 160 years, leaving an indelible imprint from Michigan to the moon. How? We figured out early the value of multiple disciplines, adding engineering services to architecture as soon as the steel building frame was invented. We delved into specialty market sectors early, too, leading to today’s deep well

of expertise in fields as diverse and complex as academic medical centers and marina design. And we have always been at the leading edge of change: We designed one of Henry Ford’s first manufacturing plants as well as NASA’s Lunar Sample Receiving Laboratory.

Today, the SmithGroup name reflects our emergence from several talented regional practices to a united, award-winning firm practicing around the globe. And just as we still carry the Smith name, every member of our team carries a bit of that Sheldon Smith spirit—an upstart eager to strike out and create inspiring places.

Click on the image above for an expanded look at our impressive legacy.