Mark Smith split his undergraduate studies between the Boston School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Syracuse University. In 1979, he received a Bachelor of Industrial Design from Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts.

Shortly after graduating from Syracuse, he moved to West Berlin, Federal Republic of Germany to work for Coordination Ausstellungs, G.m.b.h., an exhibition design firm where he participated in the design and construction of three major exhibitions between 1979 and 1980. While overseas, Smith spent six months traveling throughout Southern Europe researching and documenting noteworthy public plazas and urban spaces. This research project was instrumental in being granted a scholarship from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received a Masters in Architecture in 1985.

Smith worked for Benjamin Thompson Associates, the designers of Quincy Market and Fanueil Hall Market Place in Boston for two years. In 1987 he left to form Design Management, Architects, a collaborative design and architectural firm in Boston that specialized in creative adaptive re-use and renovation. The office was moved to Akron, Ohio in 1992, in a pre-Civil War barn structure, where it remains today.

Between 1995 and 2005, Smith was an instructor at the Cleveland Institute of Art where he taught Architectural Construction Documents, Auto-CAD, and A Form Language Workshop, a modeling based workshop which investigates the principles that generate from in nature and the built environment.

In 1995, Smith co-founded the Highland Square Neighborhood Association (HSNA), a grass roots level organization which advocated for sustainable planning and good design within Akron’s well known urban neighborhood. As part of HSNA’s mission, Smith designed and produced two re-occurring festivals in Highland Square, Art in the Square and PorchRokr. Each festival promotes the Square’s diversity, artistic attributes, and the symbiotic relationship between the neighborhood and it’s central business district.

Additionally, Smith co-founded The Highland Square Business Association (THSBA,) a consortium of property and business owners working in conjunction with the city of Akron, Ohio, to develop a comprehensive revitalization strategy for the neighborhood business district. It was the first undertaking of its kind in Akron.