Team Spotlight: Architect Rachel Burton


Architect Rachel BurtonArchitect Rachel Burton has been working with Sea Island Builders for the past decade, first with Herlong and Associates and now with her own firm, Swallowtail, but she never thought she would be designing buildings when she was growing up.

Rachel’s first love was landscape architecture, but she didn’t exactly have what you would call a green thumb. After countless plant fatalities, she had a “eureka” moment at the age of 17 when she realized that she could simply “drop the ‘Landscape’ part, to just be an Architect.”

She’s moved around a lot in her life – Africa, Jamaica, England, and Canada – but finally settled in South Carolina when her husband got a job here in 2001, and doesn’t have any plans to go anywhere else. Surprisingly, she says that designing buildings is very similar no matter where you are in the world. Despite the fact that she had to protect against the extreme cold in Canada and now in South Carolina is forced to think about heat and hurricanes, the design principles are the same – “Keep out extreme temperatures and design for sideways wind!”

Still, she does think there is a unique solution for every single site and type of building. As someone who’s worked on a casino, a city hall, and all kinds of high-end residences in varied geographical settings, we’re inclined to believe her. She certainly finds unique design elements to put into every home she creates for us!

Rachel says she likes working with Sea Island Builders both because of our building skills and our commitment to ensuring our clients are happy, no matter what. With an answer like that, it probably comes as no surprise that her favorite part of the job is seeing the reactions clients have at the various phases of the design – from excitement during the initial stages when they can see their dreams taking shape to joy and satisfaction when everything is complete and they can finally move in.

As someone licensed in both Canada and the U.S., with an enormous amount of experience and a LEED Accreditation, Sea Island Builders would trust Rachel with any job that came our way. We like her uncanny ability to solve diverse design challenges and make them all visually stunning –while staying on budget – as much as we appreciate the way she is able to juggle the many and varied responsibilities of being lead architect and liaise with everyone who needs to be kept in the loop.

Having a small firm like Swallowtail means Rachel personally stays up-to-date with the latest architectural trends and technologies, and that she’s able to give clients the personal attention they deserve. At Sea Island Builders, we know a personal touch can make all the difference, and hope we can continue working with Rachel for years to come.

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