2018 – A Year to Remember at SmithGroup
When we launched the new smithgroup.com website earlier this year, we wanted to share a different, more personal look at the members of our team. To accomplish this goal, we created our “hobby shots,” a simple collage of personal items designed to give a glimpse into the people who make our firm so special. You can check them out on the People page of our website within each person’s profile.
Inspired by the appeal of these images, when the time came to put together our year-end greeting, we went back to this idea and thought that a unique look at some of our favorite things from 2018 was the perfect way to wrap up the highlights on an eventful year.
One of the most exciting items of the year was the launch of our all-new brand. We simplified our name, changed our visual identity and launched an informative new website. But most importantly, we solidified our mission behind a promise to Design A Better Future. This is a commitment to our clients, partners, communities and ourselves and a declaration that we are igniting change through design. Everything we do is tied to these four simple words.
One of the ways we are delivering on our brand promise is through our commitment to design excellence. The University of Texas Dallas Engineering Building opened this fall and is providing a beautiful new home to a program that has more than doubled in size in the past decade. DC Water’s new headquarters boasts a stunning design and engineering innovation that uses energy from wastewater to heat and cool the building. In Hangzhou, China, the Wanxiang Innova City, currently in design, is a shining example of our ability to provide integrated design solutions at all scales.
We are taking our work to new heights by embracing the latest tools to improve our craft. One of the ways we are doing this is through the use of technology in the design process. Gone are the days when an architect had to search through rolls of blueprints to ensure that a complex design was being built correctly. This year we raised our use of Augmented Reality to new levels, in particular, with the integration of this tool for the installation of a complex glass facade.
It’s clear that the work we are doing and the way we are doing it is getting noticed. In September, three of our projects were recognized in Fast Company’s 2018 Innovation By Design Awards, which recognize people, teams and companies solving problems through design. Additionally, Fast Company recognized SmithGroup as one of the Design Companies of the Year, putting us in an elite group with business titans like Google, Microsoft, Airbnb and Target.
Our design successes have provided our firm with the opportunity to grow. At the start of the year we announced the acquisition of TRO, which allowed us to expand our footprint to New England. Our colleagues in Boston have become valued members of the firm. We are building on their strong experience in healthcare and bringing SmithGroup’s international experience in a range of other markets to Boston. But we didn’t stop there: in September, we established our Pittsburgh office to build on the success we have had supporting client needs in many other similar post-industrial cities.
The successes in 2018 would not have happened without the amazing people that make up this firm. Their talent, dedication and commitment to our communities is unmatched anywhere in our industry. They have dedicated countless hours to our communities through projects like CANstruction, a unique charity and competition that brings designers together to build large structures entirely out of canned food that is then donated to local hunger relief organizations. Our teams also volunteered in the Neighborhood Spruce-Up with Habitat for Humanity, where employees helped local neighborhoods with exterior clean-up and renovation needs.
In addition to working to design a better future for our clients and our communities, we want to create a great place for our employees to come to work every day. These efforts are being recognized by our employees, and the communities we work in have also taken notice. Several of our offices have been recognized as Top Workplaces by publications like the Chicago Tribune and the Detroit Free Press.
It has truly been an amazing year! As we close the book on 2018, we want to wish all of our clients, partners and staff a safe and relaxing holiday season and a happy new year. We are looking forward to making 2019 even better as we continue to work with all of you to Design A Better Future.