Receiving a major lifetime honor, the national leader in architecture, interiors and higher education, Jane Smith, founder of Spacesmith, has been elevated to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the group’s highest recognition.
As the founding principal of Spacesmith, the noted architecture and design firm based in in New York City, Jane Smith has helped change the profession, especially for women. With over 25 employees, the firm has worked on a wide range of acclaimed building and interiors projects, including the Brooklyn Bridge Park pop-up pool, Donna Karan’s showrooms, the U.S. Mexico City Embassy, the Staten Island Family Justice Center, Ralph Lauren’s headquarters, and MTV Networks. A lifelong educator, Smith has also served as Chair of the Department of Interior Design at the School of Visual Arts since 2006.
In addition, Smith has helped to significantly increase membership at the New York Chapter of the AIA, supporting the organization in meeting their goal of growing to more than 5,000 members. Her firm Spacesmith is also associated with the U.S. Green Building Council, IIDA, CoreNet, and other groups.
Being elevated to the AIA College of Fellows reflects an individual’s “significant contributions to the profession of architecture,” according to the AIA. This prestigious title is its highest membership recognition, awarded to about 3% of AIA members.
Nominees are screened through five rigorous judging criteria:
- Promoting aesthetic, scientific and practical efficiency of the profession.
- Advancing the science and art of planning and building by advancing the standards of architectural education, training and practice.
- Leadership in the building industry and the profession of architecture.
- Ensuring advancement in living standards by improving the built environment.
- Making the profession of ever-increasing service to society.
"Jane Smith is a pioneering architect and a tireless colleague dedicated to innovative design and valuable contributions to education and professional leadership,” says the noted architect Cynthia Phifer Krakauer, AIA, executive director of the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation (BWAF). “Her firm’s stature is evident in projects for clients that value design excellence and a focus on targeted business goals. The success of her practice reflects this twin emphasis on architecture and on the business of design.”
Smith is also recognized for advocacy and leadership in her private practice, in academia, and in service through organizations including the AIA, the BWAF as well as WX, a group for women executives in real estate.
Smith’s firm, Spacesmith, is acclaimed for its focus on “design excellence and spirit, mindfulness and passion, creativity and compassion,” and the firm prides itself in meticulously building harmony and stewardship as well as its full-service approach that “takes care of the people who take care of the world,” according to the firm.
Memorable, highly crafted and mission-responsive client solutions are the hallmark of Spacesmith’s approach. These projects have included adaptive reuse projects for the Hewitt School and the School of Visual Arts, dozens of retail projects, offices and civic works for the city of New York and the U.S. federal government, academic facilities, and innovative offices for Global Brands Group and Bacardi-Martini Rossi, among many others.
“Spacesmith takes time to understand the client, the brand, and how to design a space that reflects the brand,” says Louise Matthews, global vice president of real estate for Bacardi-Martini. “Above and beyond achieving excellent design solutions, it’s the attention to details, the follow-up, the project management, the seamless collaboration with the client and other consultants that differentiate Spacesmith.”
Spacesmith entered into a formal alliance with the architecture firm Davis Brody Bond in 2011, expanding its offerings, client reach, and talent pool. Jane Smith’s role as chair of the School of Visual Arts BFA Interior Design Department have further bolstered the firm’s visibility and leadership position.