Andrea MacQueen Swartz, architect                                                                                                                                     A to z

@macqueenswartz ​(instagram)

© andrea swartz

© andrea swartz

AIA Indiana 1 x Infinity architectural design competition, December 2013

Design submission:  Occupying Haynie's Corner (A. Swartz)

Honorable Mention award

© andrea swartz

sponsor video of Sukkahville 2013

Flat Lot design competition

Building Bodies for Work(with Tim Gray, Wes Janz)

Runner-up award

Beyond Environment Exhibition + Installation

design competition proposal, June 2014 

Swartz entry "Osmosis"  accepted for exhibition in WUHU Gallery, September-October 2014

Re-imagining the Sukkah

Kehilla Residential Programme invites architects, students, artists, builders and allied design professionals to submit design proposals for the third annual Sukkahville Design Competition.  The aim of this open competition is to design a temporary, freestanding Sukkah to be built in Mel Lastman Square in Toronto for the holiday of Sukkot. We encourage you to re-imagine the traditional notion of Sukkah, with a contemporary design language and approach.

(Text from

RE-USEKAH design proposal by Andrea Swartz, architect and Associate Professor Ball State University

​RE-USEKAH explores the beauty of the old and discarded.  Like a community where the diverse strands of old and young and in-between come together, weaving a tapestry of perspectives, experiences and memories, RE-USEKAH weaves together strands of old, new and in-between.  Sukkot, a celebration of families, feasts and prayer, speaks to passing seasons, to freshly harvested food, to anticipating winter, to ends, to beginnings.  Families gather together remembering the journeys of past generations and looking forward to the journeys of tomorrows'.  RE-USEKAH too, is full of old, and young, memories and futures.

RE-USEKAH embraces opportunities to reconsider our building material stream.  It's logic is derived from re-used pallets, filled in with wood slats from lawn mower shipping crates ready for the trash, as well as flooring and framing from a local salvage company that disassembles abandoned buildings, harvesting old but beautiful wood ready for another life.  Juxtaposing, intertwining and weaving this old, reclaimed, discarded material pallet with some new wood, and slightly used wood, the issue of time, of cycles, of pasts and futures is manifested.  With the household, with community, we gather together these strands of time and celebrate.  © Andrea Swartz

After Swartz's design was selected as one of six awarded finalists, funds were awarded for materials/transport/lodging.  Andrea Swartz completed 85% of the sukkah structure over the summer, invited/assembled a team to complete the construction in Muncie, disassemble/transport and reassemble in Toronto for the exhibition in September 2013 where it received the Second Place award overall from the judges.  Team members:   BSU students Shannon Buchanan, Julie Musial, Morganne Walker, BSU faculty colleague and daughter Janice Shimizu, M. Coggeshall and freelance photographer Jennifer Smith. (process/detail work shown below)


Celebrating the work of Gianni Pettena, Allan Kaprow and Robert Smithson, the exhibition pavilions explore a conversation between nature and architecture.  Inspired by the values expressed in the work of the three designers, this conversation engages ideas of natural beauty and its essential influence on how we make place.  Similar to Pettena's reference to the osmotic relationship between the nomad and their environment, the dialogue established by the three pavilions is intended to be an effortless, "non-conscious" assimilation of the work and ideas of Pettena, Kaprow and Smithson that "architecture has to respect nature."  

The site of the three pavilions, the LACE gallery, is a voice in this conversation.  Nature is seen, considered, valued as detail/material/form juxtaposition to our built condition of right angles, dimensional predictability, fabrication and material numbness.  The long white box of the gallery becomes an effective, familiar counterpoint for the more flowing, natural forms of the pavilions.  The three structures range in complexity from the simple ROCK that establishes a place in the front gallery; TREE makes place with two arcs of natural materials (rock, jute, twined grapevine, sand) that slide past each other, making a gathering space where monitors can be suspended from the ceiling and conversations can be held; CLOUD, the final most enclosed pavilion, uses digital fabrication methods (laser cut panels of paper board containing sky photographs with tabs that attach to each adjacent panel, a low stone seating element) to extend the discussion of how new tools of modeling and making can further provoke design's conversation with environment.

© andrea swartz

Centennial Festival of Riverboats, proposal 

exhibited at Museum of Arts and Craft, Louisville, KY March -  June 2014

design competition for temporary, adaptable (multi-function) pavilion.  

Entry proposed a 4'x4' rollable module that could be configured to multiple sizes (s, m, l).

SUKKAHVILLE 2013, ​design, build, exhibit competition, Toronto Canada

Second Place award

Warming Huts V.2015

design competition entry (October 2014)

design proposal with artists Ana de Brea and Jennifer Smith

© Andrea Swartz, Ana de Brea, Jennifer Smith

#warmembrace #passingthrough

Like a seedpod protecting its delicate descendants (here today, gone tomorrow, passing through) this structure provides a warm embrace with form, materials and tectonics.  A reticent wind-screen holds and protects a colorful, soft, handcrafted, woven face where people take refuge and find delight. Lightly touching this place, in recognition of the rich heritage of civilizations that have come before and the spirits yet to come, the shelter pays homage to time with the re-use of material.  Outside a layer of old wood, salvaged from disassembled structures (barns, houses of prior generations), transforms into a woven, stuffed inner lining knitted from recycled plastic bags,twine and wool remnants.  Restrained on the outside, colorful on the inside, one skin faces the weather while the other embraces humanity.  Both work in concert with each other, providing a place of refuge, a visual feeling of warmth, and a moment on the journey. (process work shown below)


To "design and build a temporary structure at the center of downtown Flint," Michigan.  AIA-FLint and Flint Public Art Project sponsored a design competition to "design and build a temporary summer pavilion in the central parking lot in downtown Flint."   Over 200 entries from teams and individuals from around the world invited architects and artists to propose an "innovative temporary structure that provides shelter, shade, and seating for a wide range of public events, defines space within the lot, and demonstrates the capacity of contemporary architectural form-making to transform space and captivate the public imagination--all whil occupying no more than eight parking spaces during normal business hours."  The winner of the competition would "receive $25,000 to realize their proposal....The Flat Lot will be a new center and symbol for the city, an attraction for regional visitors, and a site that amplifies the many existing events that help define cultural life in Flint."  (This from original competition brief generated by AIA-Flint and Flint Public Art Project.)

Associate Professor Andrea Swartz invited fellow Ball State University Department of Architecture faculty Wes Janz and Tim Gray to explore a solution to this competition invitation.  We visited Flint, a visit that ultimately formed our approach, which was to engage and empower the energies that are already evident in the city.  This engagement/empowerment included having conversations with two of Professor Janz's colleagues that lived in Flint; identifying potential community partners (Flint Job Corps students, local unemployed citizens) for the projects realization; and using the project to potentially establish local skills in the deconstruction of abandoned structures in Flint.  The title of the design proposal, Building Bodies for Work, embodied these local resource roots of the design.

Abandoned auto parts storage racks, discovered at the end of our eight hour visit to the city (see photo below), became the conceptual and physical framework for the designs.  The tower designs (loosely presented and authored individually by each one of us) were meant to (ultimately) be designed/built by Job Corps students mentored by local tradespeople; hence the variety.  The material source of these design/build projects would be collected from some abandoned structures present in the city.  These lit towers would occupy eight parking spaces in the Flat Lot along Saginaw Avenue (the main street in Flint).  They were intended to address the programmatic needs for seating, shelter, included ideas of lighting, greenery, renewable energy, and minimal site-work.  As the materials were primarily free, the budget of $25,000 was primarily intended to be recycled into employment/learning opportunities for the youth and unemployed.  Process work below.

photographs © Jennifer Smith and © Andrea Swartz, all rights reserved