SmithGroup Hires Ed Burton as Science & Technology Practice Director

Strategic leader works with academic science, corporate and developer clients to ensure their laboratory environments meet research needs

SmithGroup, one of the nation’s largest architecture, engineering and planning firms, has hired Ed Burton to lead its international Science & Technology Practice. Burton succeeds Andy Vazzano, who transitions into a strategic, thought leader position for the firm.

In this role, Burton heads SmithGroup’s eight Science & Technology studios that provide programming, planning and design of renovation, expansion and new construction projects for academic science, corporate research, technology park and forensic science clients. Burton was previously employed by HOK where he acted as the Science & Technology Regional Leader for Southern California, Arizona and Nevada.

SmithGroup’s Science & Technology Practice specializes in laboratory environments that help to advance multidisciplinary research in basic and applied sciences. The practice’s expertise was recently recognized when R&D Magazine named the SmithGroup-designed University of Illinois’ Electrical and Computer Engineering Building the 2016 Laboratory of the Year. This is the second time a SmithGroup project was presented this prestigious award in the past three years—the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Systems Integration Facility at National Renewable Energy Laboratory won in 2014.

“Ed Burton is a science and technology expert who has gained great success for his emphasis of client engagement, forward-thinking strategies, and design excellence,” said Mike Medici, AIA, SmithGroup president and managing partner. “He is well-positioned to take this already successful and reputable practice to the next level.”

Burton brings more than 25 years of experience of managing large and complex science and technology projects on three continents to SmithGroup. Drawn to the complexity of these building types, his experience includes the University of Southern California’s Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience where an interdisciplinary team of researchers will use predictive science to detect and cure diseases. Prior to coming to the U.S., Burton worked in London where he managed the design of the research space within the 980,000-square-foot Francis Crick Institute, a $931 million innovative biomedical research institute studying cancer, neurodegenerative conditions and infectious diseases. Burton has worked with a number of leading corporate and academic institutions in the United Kingdom, China, Russia and the U.S., including serving as the design leader for Dow Chemical’s Asia Pacific headquarters and research facility in Shanghai.

“Ed quickly adapts to the needs of his clients—from multiple cultures and perspectives—and understands the changing research landscape to provide them with dynamic and innovative laboratory environments,” said Andy Vazzano, FAIA, SmithGroup vice president.

Burton is a native of England. He received an MBA from Cranfield University School of Management and a Post Graduate Diploma and Bachelor of Arts, both in Architecture, from the Birmingham School of Architecture and Design. He is a Chartered Architect and a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Burton currently resides in Los Angeles.

For more information about SmithGroup, please visit our Company Fact Sheet.