Markham Smith

Markham Smith was born and raised in the farmlands of the coastal plains of Southwest Georgia, which forever imprinted upon him the wonder and necessity of the natural world. He attended McCallie School in Chattanooga, graduating in 1972. In 1979, Markham earned a Masters’ Degree of Architecture and an undergraduate degree in American History from Tulane University in New Orleans, where in 1975 he met his wife, Ellen Hauck.

In 1981, after a two year stint with Arthur Cotton Moore Architects in Washington, D.C., Markham and Ellen were attracted back to New Orleans to work in one of the crown-jewels of American urban environments. Working for E. Eean McNaughton Associates Architects, Markham led several revitalization projects of historic public landmarks. In 1987, following a passion for urban design and architecture, Markham and Ellen and their expanding family relocated to Atlanta to form Smith Dalia Architects with their friend Tom Dalia. Over the next three decades, Smith Dalia threw its practice into the revitalization of the underappreciated fabric of Atlanta, and in particular, Atlanta’s ignored industrial skeleton along its historic urban rail lines. For this groundbreaking work, the firm was twice recognized by the Atlanta chapter of American Institute of Architects with the coveted Silver Medal Award for a body of work contributing to the urban fabric.

In addition to his professional career, Markham has worked in numerous non-profit capacities to advance a humane, equitable and inclusive built environment, focusing on the integration of green infrastructure into the public domain. He has served on the boards of the ULI’s Livable Communities Coalition/Council, the Georgia Conservancy, the Tulane School of Architecture, the Trust for Public Land, and the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership. His work with the Trust for Public Land has been particularly fruitful. Beginning in 2003, working alongside TPL, he helped spearhead a community partnership to create the vision, assemble the property and raise $40 million through public and private sources for the 17-acre Historic Fourth Ward Park. Completed in 2012, it was one of the first urban parks in the country to incorporate major stormwater infrastructure as an accessible public greenspace amenity. Markham served as the first chair of the TPL Georgia Board’s Urban Parks Committee, and in 2017 was appointed advisory board chair. During his tenure as chair, the TPL Georgia office partnered with regional planning authorities to initiate master planning of a 100-mile stretch of the Chattahoochee River. Also, at the request of the City of Atlanta, TPL joined with the Department of Watershed in the design, funding and construction of Rodney Cook, Sr. Park, a $30 million, 16-acre “beyond infrastructure” project in Vine City, the historic African American neighborhood that was home to many of Atlanta’s civil rights leaders including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Architect, cycling enthusiast, song writer and singer, aspiring painter, poet, and “Opa” to his 5 grandsons, Markham (now retired from regular practice), consults, advises and indulges his many creative interests. He is most proud of his long happy journey through life with Ellen, and their loving daughters and grandchildren who reside a short bike ride away in central Atlanta near many of his cherished urban contributions.