Historic Preservation

At SmithGroup we advocate for the preservation of cultural resources for future generations as a service to society and as a means of sustaining our planet by reducing the expenditure of energy and materials required for new construction. We recognize that one of the most powerful aspects of preservation is that it embodies values that reflect our contemporary understanding of our own time and place. Preservation of heritage structures and landscapes should serve as an enhancement of our present and a reminder that we are on a continuum of history. We link the past and the future by celebrating heritage, revitalizing neighborhoods, conserving resources, and designing new buildings that are sensitive to their surrounding communities.

Detroit Athletic Club

Detroit Athletic Club Expansion and Renovation Master Plan

Our historic preservation approach for every project is based on research, understanding of context, detailed physical investigations, materials analyses, and careful evaluation of the changes that have occurred to a historic resource over time. Planning a historic preservation project requires bringing the entire design, planning and construction team together to recognize the important character defining features to be respected and to highlight where there are flexibilities for new interventions.

SmithGroup has a robust in-house toolbox of investigative tools for documenting historic resources including: digital scanners, parametric design software, thermographic imaging, drones, and energy and data modeling software. Employed in concert, these tools enhance our understanding of an existing historic resource to better guide recommendations for treatment and stewardship.

White House Visitor Center Smithgroup

White House Visitor Center

General Motors design Dome SmithGroup

General Motors Design Dome 


Cranbrook Academy Art Museum & Collections Building

Arts Industries Building SmithGroup

Arts and Industries Building Revitalization