Maria Smith AJ Summit

Industry expert

 Maria Smith

Maria Smith

Buro Happold , Director of Sustainability & Physics

Director of Sustainability and Physics at Buro Happold, Maria is a multi-award winning architect, engineer, writer, and curator, working across disciplines to bring the built environment in line with planetary limits.

Maria joined Buro Happold from Webb Yates Engineers in 2020, where she was a Director focused on sustainability and transdisciplinary practice. She brings fifteen years’ experience leading multi-award-winning architecture and engineering practices – from art and architecture practice Studio Weave, Interrobang Architecture and Engineering and Webb Yates Engineers.

She is a nationally elected member of the council of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), a trustee of the Architecture Foundation, and on the steering committee of Architects Declare. In 2017 she was appointed a Design Advocate by the Greater London Authority where she serves on the Ecological Urbanism Sounding Board and advised on the development of the Circular Economy Guidance document. Maria was also chief curator of “Enough: The Architecture of Degrowth”, the 2019 Oslo Architecture Triennale that explored how architecture can establish the conditions for an economy based on social and ecological flourishing.

Maria has written for newspapers and magazines including the Financial Times, the Architectural Review and RIBAJ, where she was a columnist for five years. She co-founded the international series of politics and architecture debates Turncoats, and frequently speaks at universities, conferences, and events on sustainability, architecture and the interconnectedness of the ecological crisis and our economy.

Maria studied architecture at the University of Bath, TU Delft, and London Metropolitan University. She studied engineering at the Open University and believes that integrating the skill sets of architecture and engineering offers a stronger position from which to address the issues of our age.


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