SmithGroup Hires Jill Swensen to Expand Design Expertise, Market Leadership in Pittsburgh

Jill Swensen Architecture Higher Education SmithGroup Pittsburgh

SmithGroup, one of the nation’s largest integrated design firms, has hired Jill Swensen, AIA, LEED AP, as a principal and studio leader at its Pittsburgh office.

A registered architect with more than 20 years of experience, Swensen specializes in the programming, planning, and management of complex environments that advance learning and research activities. In her new role as a studio leader, she will collaborate with multidisciplinary experts across the firm’s  Higher Education, Science & Technology, and Health groups to create sustainable, future-focused spaces for college, university, and healthcare clients in Pennsylvania and the eastern U.S.

An expert in the creation of spaces that support problem-based learning and research, Swensen’s portfolio features work for notable academic institutions including Carnegie Mellon University, The University of Pittsburgh, Penn State University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, The Ohio State University, and the University of Glasgow, among others. At Yale University’s campus in New Haven, Connecticut, Swensen recently led planning and design activities for a range of new construction and renovation efforts. Projects include the Yale Science Building, a new 277,550-square-foot biology research facility with shared cores to service the university’s full Science Hill neighborhood; and modernization of the Philip Johnson-designed Kline Tower to add new learning, conference, and departmental spaces.

SmithGroup’s Higher Education Practice, led by Chris Purdy, AIA, specializes in planning and design of spaces for the health sciences; engineering education;  science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM); law and professional schools; student life; and recreation. “Jill thoroughly understands the changes occurring in higher education, especially in the STEM disciplines, where new, flexible, and innovative spaces to support experiential learning and collaborative research are essential,” stated Purdy. “She will work closely with clients and team members to lead the planning and design of modern campus environments that are transformative and align with project goals.”

Director of SmithGroup’s Pittsburgh office, Jeff Hausman, AIA, elaborated on the value that Swensen brings to the firm. “Jill has dedicated her career to creating places that inspire users," he stated. “She will guide the design process to ensure that each solution reflects the voices and addresses the needs of our clients and their communities.”

Swensen earned a Master of Architecture from Syracuse University after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences from Pennsylvania State University. A longtime member of the American Institute of Architects and the U.S. Green Building Council, she is frequently invited to serve as a lecturer for Tradeline and serves as a board member for Pittsburgh’s prestigious Ellis School. Swensen has also held board positions with Leadership Butler County and the Butler County Chamber of Commerce. She comes to SmithGroup from the Butler, Pennsylvania office of Stantec.

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