The Polymath story

We design things. Mostly buildings. We advocate for Idea and Craft in the man-made world.

About Sean

Sean Barnett AIA is the founder and principal architect at Polymath Studio.  He grew up building forts in the back yard and large, often robotic, structures using Legos, Erector Sets, and Construx. Despite these now-obvious architectural tendencies, he insisted he would grow up to be a scientist, or a doctor. It wasn’t until he was in the midst of medical school applications – with a Lego scale model of this apartment sitting on the coffee table – that he realized he was on the wrong path, and needed to be an architect. And he never looked back.

He attended the College of Design at the University of Minnesota, focusing his studies on the integration of the built and natural environments. While at school, he worked at Alchemy Architects, helping with the development of the weeHouse prefabricated home system. It was at Alchemy that he fell in love with prefabrication and advanced building techniques, and the notion that modern architecture should be accessible to everyone.

Upon receiving his Masters of Architecture, Sean moved to Portland, Oregon and soon began working at GBD Architects. He was drawn in by their leadership in sustainable design, and quickly found himself with opportunities to work on the design of very large and complicated mixed-use buildings.

After gaining experience with buildings wee and large, Sean found himself at Hennebery Eddy Architects. Here he had a well-rounded architectural experience, working on design, project management, and marketing efforts. Eventually he settled in as project architect on one of the firm’s largest projects, the modernization of a 100 year-old classroom building on the Oregon State University campus. This project gave him experience in historic preservation, both in terms of design, and also the complicated land-use processes often associated with this type of work.

Wanting not only to design buildings, but also a company and a culture, Sean eventually decided to strike out on his own, and founded Polymath Studio. At Polymath, the work centers around idea and craft – projects that have meaning, are executed with thoughtful details, and are of high quality materials. He believes that every moment of every project brings an opportunity to think critically and use the creative process. It is this notion that gives rise to the company’s motto: Design Everything.