Charles Smith, FAIA, LEED AP

Principal, Education Practice Co-Director

Charles Smith


Great design doesn’t happen in a silo. To provide solutions that best serve our clients, the communities they serve and our society, we must tap into the strength of our converging expertise. That’s Charles’ philosophy on transforming the education landscape. 

With more than 25 years of experience in typologies spanning the education spectrum, Charles is a well-versed strategic leader who engages with top-tier institutions across multiple education sectors. His unique perspective helps clients reimagine the future of learning and research spaces, as he has dedicated most of his career to the convergence of education, health, and science and technology. As co-director of CannonDesign’s education practice, Charles leads teams of designers who are creating educational experiences that align with evolving education models, high-growth job sectors and student demand. 

A few clients and collaborators

  • Medical College of Wisconsin
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Washington
  • University of Chicago
  • Miami University
  • Iowa State University


  • Strategic partnership with clients
  • Alignment of mission, budget and design
  • Unique design solutions for unique opportunities
  • Client communications and accountability


  • Mentoring the next generation of leaders
  • The strong women in his family—executive wife and two doctor daughters
  • Professional perseverance navigating highs and lows of the cyclical industry