Cathy Simon’s five-decade long career has focused on transformative design at all scales. Her award- winning work comprises design for higher and secondary education, civic and commercial buildings, reinvention of historic structures, waterfront projects and urban design of numerous postindustrial Bay Area waterfront sites including the renovation of the Ferry Building and the masterplan for Treasure Island. Academic master plans include Harvard Futures, a study of Harvard in Allston, Brown in the Jewelry District, NYU Plans 2031, Stanford in Redwood City, and 2008 and 2017 Master Plans for Bard College, where she has also designed four buildings. In 1986 she was elevated to Fellow of the American Institute of Architects for her work in Design. Educated at Wellesley College and Harvard Graduate School of Design, she was the William A. Bernoudy Architect in Residence at the American Academy in Rome in 2015 and taught architecture at both Stanford and UC Berkeley where in 1996 she was the Howard Friedman Distinguished Professor of Architecture in Practice. From 1985-2008, Simon founded and led SMWM, a celebrated women-owned architecture and urban design practice with offices in San Francisco and New York. In 1999 SMWM won the AIACC Firm Award, the youngest firm to be so awarded. In 2008, SMWM joined Perkins + Will and from October 2015-January 2018, she served as a Senior Consulting Design Principal.
A speaker, design juror and critic, Simon is a member of the University of Washington Architectural Commission and the University of California Berkeley Design Review Committee, the 2016 Board Chair of the Dutch organization OrangeGoesGreen, and in 2017-2018 was a Research Advisor for the Bay Area Resilient by Design Challenge. From 1993-1997, she was President of the GSD Alumni Council and served several terms on the GSD Visiting Committee. She also served for 12 years as a Trustee of the Golden Gate Parks Conservancy from 1992 to 2005. Cathy's design philosophy and expertise have made her a natural spokesperson for the burgeoning revitalization and resiliency of post-industrial waterfronts worldwide and she is currently an urban design and architecture consultant to a multi-firm engineering team developing the Port of San Francisco’s Waterfront Resiliency Program. Her book about design and the waterfront, Occupation:Boundary, Art, Architecture and Culture at the Water will be published in Spring, 2021.