Q&A with Tyler Swingle

January 31, 2023
Learn more about our 2022-24 Emerging Scholar in Design Fellow Tyler Swingle.
Black and white headshot of Tyler Swingle

Tyler Swingle is The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture’s 2022-2024 Emerging Scholar in Design Fellow. Before joining the school last fall, Tyler lectured at the Peter Guo-hua Fu School of Architecture at McGill University and held the Visiting Scholar position at Montana State University School of Architecture.

Swingle received his Bachelor of Environmental Design degree from Montana State University in 2012 and his Master of Architecture degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s School of Architecture + Planning in 2018. During that time, he won several prizes including the AIA Henry Medal in 2018 and the Sydney B. Karofsky ’37  Prize in 2016. Swingle has worked at Barkow-Leibinger Architects and Matter Design and has a wide range of project experience including material research prototypes and built works.

Tell us a bit about your background and your professional trajectory.
As a student, I never thought I wanted to be a teacher. I always imagined having my license and living/working in Washington or Oregon. This all basically changed when I started working for firms that were just as interested in materials as they were in buildings. Once I began to understand this reciprocity between the two, I became very interested in both exploring and sharing this synergy.

What are your research and design interests? What drew you to the work you are doing now?
My design interests started with materials and expanded to the various tools that contemporary architects use to produce architecture. With all these tools (materials, software, standards, etc.), there are inherent biases that influence the production of architecture. My main area of interest, in teaching, research, or design, is separating the tool from the expected production, then misusing the tool to
produce unexpected architectural results.

What appealed to you about joining us here at the UT School of Architecture?
UTSOA is a special school because it offers a wide educational experience (from computation to construction) to a diverse Texan youth that will have a great effect on future architecture within Texas. Like most state schools, students are humble, diligent, and intelligent; but unlike most state schools, the SOA faculty and staff are a unique interdisciplinary collage. And I’m very happy to be in the middle of the mix!

Tell us a bit about the studio you taught this last semester.
I taught a Design V studio last semester titled: Public Pool Priority. The studio was both speculative and performative, and the students embraced this challenge. While learning about the history of discrimination through pools and pool designs, students speculated on what an inclusive pool might look like. This included mobility, accessibility, and inclusivity within several bodies of water: toilets, changing rooms/showers, splash pads, pools, and lap pools to name a few. At the same time, students learned how architecture might perform to catch/provide water for all of the various water bodies in the designs.

What is something that students and colleagues should know about you?
I don’t like playlists and I prefer albums. If you know any good ones, please share them with me!

Besides your work, what is something you’re passionate about, or what do you do for fun?
I really like to ride bicycles - it doesn’t matter what kind, or what surface!

Overhead photo of pool models from Tyler Swingle's Fall 2022 studio
Pool models from Swingle's Fall 2022 studio "Public Pool Priority"