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/About
About 2018-08-16T13:34:42+00:00

Who We Are

Swallowtail Architecture is a Specialist in Lowcountry Architecture for Residential, and Boutique Commercial Projects.

At Swallowtail Architecture we are known for our inspired designs that merge the beautiful with the sensible. Swallowtail opened in 2012 after Rachel Burton spent decades honing her skills as an Architect. Burton has worked locally in South Carolina for nearly 20 years and prior to starting Swallowtail, she worked for some of the areas most prestigious firms. As ‘locals,’ we understand the South Carolina Lowcountry. We draw directly on our experiences to create designs that are embraced by the community. We consider all the unique elements of the Lowcountry, from the environment to the residents, to create architectural designs that have both form and function. Learn about our suite of services and view examples of our work in our portfolio.

Swallowtail Architecture logo

The name Swallowtail is inspired by the classic swallowtail joint: precise and beautiful. It Signifies a seamless connection and the strength that results

We’ve created a series of resources and guidebooks specifically for those wanting to build in the Lowcountry. Swallowtail’s portfolio of projects include work on custom new homes, whole house renovations, additions, and commercial projects. When you are ready to discuss your project, let’s set up an appointment to talk.

Woman-Owned, Woman-Operated

Led by Architect, Rachel Burton

Learn more about Rachel Burton

Our entire team of phenomenal woman are working hard every day to help our clients bring their dreams to life.

The Swallowtail Architecture Team

L-R:  Sabrina Patel, RA, Cher Anderson,  Rachel Burton, Lisa Tryssesoone

Cher Anderson

Cher AndersonCher relocated to Charleston from Washington, D.C., where she was the Practice Manager for a veterinary hospital for over 17 years. A love of Lowcountry architecture and design led her to change career paths and join Swallowtail Architecture as the Office Administrator. A self-professed “water baby” she has traveled all over the world scuba diving with manta rays, sea turtles and sharks.

In her free time she enjoys boating, fishing, or just relaxing at the beach with her husband and young son. She remains a passionate advocate for animals and continues to support many animal welfare organizations.

Sabrina Patel, RA

Sabrina Patel, RABorn and raised in Florida, Sabrina attended the University of Miami for her Bachelors of Architecture degree. As a licensed architect with over 10 years of experience in commercial and residential architecture, Sabrina’s quiet confidence provides the space that allows our clients to make their best decisions at each stage.

In her spare time, Sabrina enjoys spending time with her husband, Dip, and energetic young son, Seth. Although currently busy chasing after their toddler, she intends to do more mission trips. Her most rewarding trip and fondest memories are from a trip to India’s southern most tip. Here, she helped build brand new homes for a very venerable population who lost their homes to a massive tsunami. This experience combined her heart to serve others with her love and appreciation of architecture – all while being at home in her native land of India.

Lisa Tryssesoone

Lisa TryssesooneAnyone working with Lisa knows that she’s a born multi-tasker with her creative heart in the right place. After earning her Master of Architecture at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, in Belgium, where she was raised, Lisa worked as a licensed associate, designing projects for new constructions, renovation and adaptive-reuse, principally single-family homes and mixed-use buildings. Lisa then followed her passion for eco-renovation and urban well-being by serving as a consultant for a city-subsidized NGO.

It was during a family vacation a few years ago that Lisa fell under the charm of South Carolina. Now a new resident of Charleston, Lisa loves spending her free time exploring the state with her husband, Timmy, and getting involved in various social justice activities. She also loves sharing her passion for architecture by serving as a docent in one of the oldest church buildings, “an American Treasure”, in downtown Charleston.

Design from a Female Perspective

The Swallowtail team brings an understanding that is unique to an all-woman architecture firm. Each member of the team is attuned to the relationships among the people and spaces within the home. They understand how everyday tasks, and the project itself, need to flow. Their specialty–-open listening to how clients want to feel in their dream home. As the mother of four grown children, she knows how precious the time we have together is. She recognizes too the challenges of raising a family and injects into all her designs the expertise of designing a luxury home perfect for the family who will live there.  The perfect fit; that’s Swallowtail.

Burton recalls, “As a young architect, I did not have female role models; none of my professors were women, none of the architectural offices where I worked had a female partner, and I never had a female manager.” Though not of the trailblazing generation that opened the doors for other women, Rachel found the door only half open.

“When my high school guidance counselor told me I should not apply for architecture, as I would be taking a spot from a man looking for a professional career to support his family,” Rachel said, “it made me stop before I decided to apply regardless.” After she found her own intern position with a London firm, her university administrator tried to persuade the firm to hire one of her male classmates instead.

When reflecting on her role as the principal architect and owner of Swallowtail Architecture, Burton says “this is something I never dreamed of or aspired to, and, much to my surprise, I find this to be the most rewarding and satisfying role in my career.”