Charles Smith named leader of CannonDesign’s Chicago office

Charles Smith headshot

August 15, 2023

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We are thrilled to announce Charles T. Smith, FAIA, LEED AP, has been named the Office Practice Leader of our Chicago office. After serving as the co-leader of our national education practice for nearly four years, Charles steps into this pivotal role to take our presence in Chicago to the next level.

Charles will continue to be a trusted partner to education clients across the region while focusing on the overall growth and development of our Chicago office. He'll foster new community relationships, grow and develop our talented workforce, and cultivate client collaborations across the health, education, commercial, civic and science sectors. 

He was a key leader at Chicago’s OWP/P for 12 years and spearheaded the firm’s merger with CannonDesign in 2009. As a client and project leader, he’s led some of the region’s most progressive higher education projects. Notable among them are Malcolm X College and Daley College Manufacturing Technology & Engineering Center for City Colleges of Chicago, the Theatre School at DePaul University, as well as pivotal projects within the University of Illinois System, including the innovative Carle Illinois College of Medicine—the first engineering-based college of medicine.

For Charles, this strategic shift is the culmination of a career dedicated to shaping Chicago's design landscape.

When it comes to practicing design, Charles is quick to say there are few places more energizing and dynamic than Chicago. “The city is overflowing with culture and diversity, and new developments and community projects are surfacing everywhere. At the same time, the city has social, economic and environmental challenges. To me, it’s an incredible opportunity for us to lead the way in designing strategies and solutions that impact the people and places of Chicago and help them thrive," he shared.

Deeply committed to civic engagement, Charles is a current board member of the Chicago Loop Alliance and a former president and board member of the American Institute of Architects Chicago Chapter.  

Our largest office, we’re proud to have more than 185 teammates based in Chicago working on transformative projects across the region—from the University of Chicago Medicine’s first free-standing cancer center to the College of Engineering Building at Illinois State University, the Plant & Environmental Sciences Building at Michigan State University and numerous projects for OhioHealth. 

As Charles takes the helm in Chicago, Patricia Bou assumes the role of sole director for CannonDesign's national education practice.