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Peter C. Smith, AIA

Peter Smith is principal and founder of DesignSmiths Architecture. He is a licensed Architect in the state of Michigan, a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-accredited professional and a member of American Institute of Architects. Before establishing DesignSmiths Architecture Peter worked at Holabird & Root in Chicago, one of the oldest architecture firms in the country, focusing on corporate, commercial, government and educational projects. He was a project architect at Michael Fitzhugh Architect in Traverse City where he worked on smaller scale residential and commercial projects. Last year he donated time with the Father Fred Foundation for their annual Canstruction fundraiser.

Peter earned a Bachelor of Environmental Design from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Master of Architecture from Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. As a student he studied architecture in Spain and Finland and was invited to attend the Glenn Murcutt Masterclass in Sydney, Australia. Peter’s introduction to design began with his Dutch grandfather, a landscape architect who regarded the landscape as a tool and not an obstacle. He instilled in Peter the value that all designs have a responsibility to their communities. During family vacations to Leland, Michigan, Peter began to use sailing and boatbuilding as an outlet for his passion for design and construction.

He admires the work of Sverre Fehn and Alvar Aalto for their use of simple local materials and their timeless designs. Peter believes when environmental and social understanding is practiced, architecture can achieve a sincere sense of place and relevance.

Registrations & Certifications
Registered Architect, State of Michigan
LEED Accredited Professional
Certified, National Council of Architectural Registration Boards

Community Involvement
Northern Michigan American Institute of Architects, Vice President
Leelanau Conservancy
Father Fred
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peter@designsmiths.us

 

Charlotte Smith

Prior to founding DesignSmiths Architecture, Charlotte worked on exhibit design, graphic design, and commercial and residential architecture for Scrafano Architects, Bruce Mau Design, and SOM in Chicago and for Peter Stutchbury Architects (recipient of Australia's Gold Medal for Architecture) in Sydney, Australia. 

Charlotte earned a Bachelor in Environmental Design from the University of Colorado at Boulder and then traveled to Sydney, Australia to participate in the Glenn Murcutt Master Class. She has a Master of Architecture from the University of Michigan where she was a Genevieve Hafner Memorial Scholar. 

When Chicago became a candidate city for the Summer 2016 Olympics, she helped develop the design of the Olympic Village. Working abroad at Peter Stutchbury Architecture was particularly influential to her understanding of architecture and design. She participated in innovative approaches to sustainability across community, industrial and residential projects. It taught her that good design can be accomplished under any constraint and should never be compromised. Her time in Australia also taught her the value of the basics: create a shelter, have a keen understanding of where the light and wind come from and always make time to have fun.

 

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Michael Leaveck, R.A.

Michael is an architect at DesignSmiths Architecture and is licensed in the state of Illinois. Before joining DesignSmiths, he was a project architect at Studio Gang Architects in Chicago founded by MacArthur fellow Jeanne Gang. Working at one of the country’s most progressive architectural firms, Michael led high-rise residential, office and educational projects —all with requisite environmental and social goals.
 
Prior to that, Michael was a project architect for Michael Maltzan Architecture in Los Angeles, working on projects for a variety of prestigious residential, commercial and educational clients —all resulting in original and highly custom solutions. Before that, he worked for Swift Lee Office, a multi-disciplinary design collaborative in Los Angeles on various small-scale projects. 

Michael earned a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Michigan where he was awarded honors including the AIA Henry Adams Medal. Michael went on to earn a Master of Architecture, with Honors, at UCLA.  

Michael has spent the last 15 years living in Los Angeles, Austin and Chicago, and is happy to be back in his home state of Michigan. Michael’s varied experience testifies to his comfort in working on projects of many types and sizes. He believes a design should be a careful response to the client’s needs and program, combined with a sensitivity to the site, solar orientation, view and sustainable choices. With this foundation, Michael believes design can improve the way we live and how we interact with others and our environment.

Registrations & Certifications
Registered Architect, State of Illinois
Certified, National Council of Architectural Registration Boards
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michael@designsmiths.us

 

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The story behind DesignSmiths name. 

We created our name from the word “smith,” meaning a person skilled in creating something with a specified material. . Our chosen material is drawings. To “design” is to draw or plan (something) with a specific function or purpose in mind. It is also in our last name.

DesignSmiths is also meant to signify a collective of anonymous individuals. This relates in our belief that that architecture is not about mastering a singular overarching style, but about creating a sincere sense of place. Every DesignSmiths project develops its own character through its users, materials and site.