Susan is a nationally recognized advocate and expert on the principles of sustainable design and historic preservation, as evidenced by her architectural practice and professional activities. As Principal of her own firm since 1980, Ms. Maxman challenges herself and the firm to consistently design in a way that does not detract from the beauty of nature and that mitigates the effects of building on the environment. In an effort to tread lightly on the earth, SMP Architects respects the Native American Adage: “We do not inherit our land from our ancestors, we borrow if from future generations.” Firm projects, which include environmentally sensitive projects for non-profit, community-based groups, and government agencies, have been recognized for excellence in design, receiving more than 50 honors and awards from numerous organizations, including the American Institute of Architects (AIA) at the national, state, and local levels, the United States Department of the Interior, and the White House.
As the first female president of the national American Institute of Architects, Ms. Maxman made environmentally sensitive design a priority for her administration. Under her leadership, the AIA and the International Union of Architects jointly sponsored a convention focused on architecture, the environment, and sustainable design. Ms. Maxman has served on the Eco-Efficiency Task Force of the President’s Council on Sustainable Development and represented the architectural profession at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Ms. Maxman also served as Chair of the Urban Land Institute’s Environmental Council. In addition, she has served on many boards and organizations, including the Board of Overseers of the Graduate School of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania and the Planning and Design Commission of the Georgia Institute of Technology. Ms. Maxman has participated on many design juries, including the International Jury for the Governor’s Awards of Canada and the 2004 AIA New England Design Awards.
Ms. Maxman’s efforts on behalf of sustainable design and preservation have been highlighted in newspapers and magazines, including appearances in Architecture, Energy Focus, Historic Preservation, and Progressive Architecture. For her advocacy of sustainable design, Ms. Maxman received Honorary Doctorates from Ball State University and University of Detroit-Mercy. Also among her many honors are the 2001 March of Dimes Service to Humanity Award, Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania Award, and the Mayor’s Commendation from the City of Philadelphia. She has been included in the Pennsylvania Honor Roll of Women and is among those listed in Who’s Who in America.