Published March 18, 2024

Senior Associate Spotlight: Kyle Barnett, LEED AP

Most architects wear multiple hats, and Kyle Barnett, project manager and senior associate at MSKTD, is no exception. Whether he’s taking the lead on any number of projects in our healthcare market—or given free rein to create unique designs in other markets—Kyle’s main role is “problem solver,” a perspective he applies to every project he leads.


“I come from a background of technically minded people,” he explained. “My dad is an electronic engineer, and my brother is a mechanical engineer at GE Aerospace.”


From an early age, Kyle began to show leanings in a different direction. “My parents tell us that as kids,” he said, “my brother and I would trade Lego pieces so I could build structures and he could create mechanisms.” As Kyle continued to develop what he calls an “artistic flair,” architecture seemed to be a natural way to connect his artistic nature with his technical side. “The ability to blend those interests into one profession was really appealing to me,” he said.


In fact, it was Kyle’s pragmatic sense that drew him to pursue a degree in architecture from Ball State University, which he credits with providing training in the technical side of the profession beyond what other schools were offering at the time. “I had taken a drafting class in high school,” he said. “The teacher was a licensed architect and opened my eyes to the critical thinking aspect of the profession.”


Today, Kyle uses that critical-thinking, problem-solving approach to his work in our healthcare market. “What sets us apart at MSKTD is that we’re there to build their hospital, not an MSKTD hospital.”


In order to deliver on that promise, Kyle spends significant time listening to clinicians. Take a recent design for a cardiovascular operating room, for example. “There’s a lot that goes into an operating room,” he said. “We talked through the surgery table orientation, along with the workflow and all the people and materials that move through the space. I make it a point to allow for differences in clinician preferences, because Architecture doesn’t stop at the walls.”


And while Kyle will offer his professional opinion and work to steer clients around potential pitfalls based on his professional experience, he makes sure they know that it’s up to them to tell us how they want to use the space. “They really drive the physical component of our design.”

It’s an approach that has served him well, particularly at one of the most impactful projects of his career: IU Health Bloomington Hospital, where the MSKTD team was tasked with 425,000 square feet of interior build-out.

“Nick Slater, the managing principal, and I ran parallel planning teams with 24 user groups. I’ve had the opportunity to go back for eight more projects, including proposals, in that building. It’s interesting to see how they live in the space after the initial build. Hospitals are constantly evolving,” he said. “I can take that experience and use it as a springboard for any project in a hospital.”


Unlike other firms that tend to specialize, MSKTD offers the “whole architect” experience, something Kyle considers a real advantage. “Every handoff is the opportunity to lose knowledge.” At MSKTD, clients progress from planning and programing all the way to ribbon cutting with one person who can design, write specs, produce construction documents, and provide construction oversight—all the different components of the job. It’s a model that is working well and yielding repeat work with clients.


As a senior associate, Kyle hopes to pass that level of experience onto future architects in the firm. “I have a quest for knowledge of the whole project, and I want others to have that same quest. In that process, I hope to make us better at what we do every day.”