Spring 2020 Ethics and Leadership Panel

Helen Bronston, AIA,

Architecture Discipline Lead and Associate, SmithGroup, San Francisco


Helen is an accomplished technical architect and an award-winning designer whose career has included civic, educational, research, housing, and healthcare projects. Most of this work has been non-profit or governmental projects, where she has felt she could do the most good in the world.  Helen was raised in the midwestern US, educated in New England, and has lived in California since 1994. Convinced that the present is not intelligible without an understanding of the past, she is pursuing a PhD at UC Berkeley in History of Architecture, writing about the development of infrastructure and commercial architecture in early-modern London. Midway through her degree, and while working as an architect, Helen had a crisis of self, which she resolved by transitioning genders. A trans view has been part of Helen’s work and thinking since childhood. This is reflected in her interest in Anthropology, where she has sought alternatives to the society and culture around her, and in her work, where she creates alternative and empowering viewpoints that enable projects to solve complex problems and surpass her client’s expectations.