Get to Know Rachel Burton

“So much in architecture depends on the right fit. The way the design fits the landscape. The way the building fits the use. And the way a room fits the people who live in it. Getting the right fit takes a rare combination of consultation and vision. For me, each home is a beautiful gem. Each needs the perfect setting and fit, both for the owners and for the landscape on which the home sits.”


The best architect in the Charleston area for bespoke architecture, Rachel Burton, AIA

Rachel Burton, AIA, ArCH, OAA, LEED AP

Swallowtail Architecture Founder and Principal Architect Rachel Burton has worked locally in South Carolina for nearly 20 years and prior to starting Swallowtail in 2012, she worked for some of the areas most prestigious firms.  For the 10 years prior to discovering her own dream of living in the South Carolina Lowcountry, Rachel worked in her native Canada on an array of residential and commercial projects.  Now considering South Carolina her forever home, Rachel brings her professionalism and keen design vision so that her clients can live their best life in the home of their dreams in this, the most beautiful location in America.

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Rachel named her practice Swallowtail Architecture after the classic swallowtail joint, a precise and beautiful coming together of two pieces of wood. This metaphor resonates with the type of firm Rachel has envisioned in Swallowtail.  A firm where clients are a perfect match to the homes we’ve designed for them.  A firm that is able to create these perfect designs through a process of actively listens to our clients wishes and dreams even when they aren’t able to fully articulate them–we call this listening below the surface.  A firm where the client feels that their dreams were elevated by working with us.  A firm that captures the beauty, serenity, and charm of Lowcountry living.

Rachel is drawn to waterways and appreciates the way they reflect the color and nuance, the sunrise and sunset each day and the change of colors with the seasons. She is known for causing the apparently impossible coastal zoning requirements to seemingly melt away as she makes the very most of each project’s potential. Having spent her earlier years in Africa, Jamaica, England and Canada, Rachel delights to call South Carolina home. She sits on the executive board for Dorchester Habitat for Humanity, the Board of Architectural Review for the Town of Summerville and is an active member of Rotary. In her free time, she can be found exploring yet more waterways, through Scandinavian mystery novels and going, with her husband, on two-week wilderness trips… by canoe.

From Rachel’s Desk

Latest post from Architect Rachel Burton with her insights about designing and building luxury homes in the Lowcountry region surrounding Charleston and on the Barrier Islands of South Carolina.

What It Is All About…

This video, originally shot in 2012 when Rachel Burton first opened Swallowtail Architecture, still captures the Swallowtail essentials and what drives our work everyday.  Our mission is to create dream homes for people who want to live in the beautiful South Carolina Lowcountry.

Learn More About Swallowtail Architecture

Looking for an Architect in Sullivan’s Island, Isle of Palms, Kiawah Island, and in the Lowcountry area around Charleston, South Carolina? Swallowtail provides residential design services including custom, new homes, historic restorations, whole house renovations, additions, as well as commercial design services for coastal, lowcountry, island, traditional, and modern-beach homes, as well as commercial properties in the Charleston area.