Maurice K. Smith

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Maurice Smith (September 1926, Hamilton, New Zealand) is a New Zealand born architect and architectural educator. Smith's work and teaching builds upon the idea of creating "habitable three-dimensional fields" as a working method for his projects. His 'field theory' has parallels to the work of Charles Olson, William Carlos Williams, and Francis Ponge in poetry, and of György Kepes and Paul Klee in the visual arts. Smith's published works include the offices of Firth Concrete, Hastings, New Zealand, 1958 (demolished), Indian_Hill_House in Groton, Massachusetts (1962–63), and Blackman House in Manchester-by-the-Sea,_Massachusetts (1992-93). He left New Zealand to study at MIT in the USA on a Fulbright Scholarship in 1952. During this time Smith studied under, and worked for, various MIT faculty and visiting faculty, including Carl Koch, Serge Chermayeff, Richard Buckminster Fuller, and György Kepes.

Back in New Zealand in the mid-1950s, Smith designed a number of small buildings, including individual houses in Auckland and the Firth Offices in Hastings, before returning to the US in 1958. There he taught from 1958 to 1996 at the School of Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He returned to New Zealand to teach at the Auckland University School of Architecture for one term in 1968.

Smith is currently Emeritus Professor of Architecture at MIT and lives in Harvard, Massachusetts.


  • Ahmad, Amin. (1994) The Smith House: Built Collage. Thresholds #9, March 1994:Department of Architecture, MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts. pp. 3, 6.
  • Clark, Justine. Walker, Paul. (2000) LOOKING FOR THE LOCAL: ARCHITECTURE AND THE NEW ZEALAND MODERN. Victoria University Press. Wellington New Zealand. pp. 49, 110.
  • Donat, John. "House, Groton, Massachusetts" World Architecture (1967) v. 4, pp. [24]-[33]
  • Gatley, Julia (ed.). (2008). "Long Live The Modern: New Zealand's New Architecture, 1904-84" Auckland, NZ: Auckland University Press.
  • "'I'conoclast." Content. vol.3 (2015): 42-46.
  • Jarzombek, Mark. (2013) "The Alternative Firmitas of Marice Smith" in Dutta, Arindam (Ed.) A second modernism : MIT, architecture, and the 'techno-social' moment Cambridge MA: MIT Press
  • Koeper, H. F. "The Discussions: At the Summit" Journal of Architectural Education (1947–1974) Vol. 14, No. 2, ACSA-AIA Seminar: The Teaching of Architecture (Autumn, 1959), pp. 5–9.
  • "Maurice Smith" in Lost Property - Auckland's Alternative Modernist Architecture and History
  • McMahon, Peter, and Christine Cipriani. (2014) Cape Cod Modern: Midcentury Architecture and Community on the Outer Cape. New York: Metropolis Books.
  • Miller, Nory "The MIT connection: design directions from MIT" Progressive Architecture (March 1982) v.63, n.3, pp. 104–108.
  • Pedret, Annie. (1994) A-Form-isms: The Workings of Maurice Smith. Thresholds #9, March 1994: Department of Architecture, MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts. pp. 3, 6.
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus (Richards, J.M. ed.) (1959) Commonwealth I. Special Issue: Deals with the Dominions with temperate climes. Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand. The Architectural Review, v. 126, # 752, October 1959. pp. 208.
  • Plummer, Henry. (2003) Masters of Light: Twentieth Century Pioneers. Architecture and Urbanism Extra Edition, A+U 2003:11, Tokyo Japan. pp. 34(35).
  • Plummer, Henry. "Blackman House, Groton, Massachusetts, 1962-63" Architecture and Urbanism (September 1989) n.9, pp.[182]-193,276.
  • Robbins, Edward, Maurice K. Smith, Gary A. Hack and Tunney F. Lee "The Client in Architectural Education: Three Interviews at M.I.T." Journal of Architectural Education (Autumn, 1981) v. 35, n. 1, pp. 32–35.
  • Smith, Maurice K."Dimensional self-stability and displacement in field-ordered directional alternations" Places (1988) v.5, n.2, pp. 72–86. [1]
  • Smith, Maurice K. "Fragment: frammenti di teoria, pratica" Rotch Library, MIT, Massachusetts
  • Smith, Maurice "Frammenti di teoria/pratica = Fragments of theory/practice" Spazio e Societa (June 1982) v.5, n.18, pp. 36–63.
  • Smith, Maurice K. "Particular associative habitable (built) environments" Progressive Architecture (March 1982), v.63, n.3, pp. 100–103.
  • Smith, Maurice K. "A House by Maurice Smith" Harvard Art Review (winter 1967), v.2, n.1, pp. 40–45.
  • Smith, Maurice K. "Not Writing on Built Form", Harvard Educational Review (1969), v.39, n.4, pp. 69–84.
  • Smith, Maurice K., Hille, R.Thomas, and Andres Mignucci. 1982. Ranges of Continuity: Eleven Towns in Spain and Portugal. Exhibit, Department of Architecture, M.I.T.
  • Wood, Peter "Doodlebug out of Canon's range" Architecture New Zealand (November–December 2005) n.6, pp. 104–106.