Todd Barnett

Todd Barnett

Madison, WI


Todd Barnett is a Wisconsin based architect. Iowa City born, Champaign raised (summered in Urbana) and Madison established, he is Midwest through and through. As a teenager, he wanted to be a sports broadcaster, but his mother knew architecture was a better fit and encouraged (forced) him to take high school drafting. At fifteen, he became the blueprinter and errand boy at a local architecture firm. This authentic exposure to the world of architecture made him realize what his mother knew and soon attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, earning undergraduate and graduate degrees in Architecture. After working for multi-disciplinary and architecture firms in Boston and the Midwest, Todd opened his architectural practice in 2007. He has worked on a range of library, religious, museum, housing, and healthcare projects. Currently, focuses on small scale, custom residential, enjoying personal relationships and placemaking opportunities. Todd’s past and current professional outreach includes serving as an architecture critic for student reviews, teaching, sitting on private and public boards and commissions, and leading a monthly international architects salon. Recognition of Todd’s work includes the Edward Earl Prize for Design Excellence, the Preservation and Conservation Association Heritage Award, the City of Madison Placemaking and Design Award, the Madison Trust for Historic Preservation Future Landmarks Award and First Place in the New Homes in Old Rock Island Design Competition. Although most of Todd’s life has been either side of the Mississippi, he has been fortunate to have lived and enjoyed extended stays in Beer-Sheva (Israel), Versailles (France, not Kentucky), Boston and Central Mexico – helping shape his view of the world, literally and metaphorically.


Artist Statement

As long as I can remember, history, texture, and unexpected beauty have captivated me. Eventually this led to an interest in photography of the Heartland - Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin. This region has a wonderful, changing mix of landscapes, sweeping views and dynamic agricultural structures which define the Midwest “farmscape.” One can close one’s eyes and imagine the stories of those who settled the land and those who continue to work it. Here the forces of people, time, and weather are palpable. An old, abandoned barn or farmhouse is more than a collection of aging timbers and siding. Rather, it is a story of work and dreams of generations past which we must remember. Simultaneously, the juxtaposition of patinaed weathered paint and the rusted metal roofs with modern interventions such as metal buildings validate the resiliency of the Midwest spirit and work ethic. The photographs also serve to document, for on the next visit another barn or farmhouse may disappear. As a theme, I am attracted to how the landscape and built environment intersect, creating geometries and views. The following have been formative in my path to photography: 

∙ When my mother took me on a country drive to find the spot where the rain ended, and clear skies began. Here we found the surprise of the journey. 

∙ Second grade in Beer-Sheva (Israel) exploring archaeological sites–a kindred spirit to seasoned Midwest farm buildings. 

∙ My junior year of architectural studies in Versailles; This included exposure to diverse cultures, great architecture, and incredible landscapes. Critically, it included sketching and a better understanding of composition. 

I seek to honor the landscape. Because of this, I share in black and white as–to me–it communicates the story more effectively, focusing on the image’s essence.

Todd Barnett, Aging in Place, 2022, Black and white digital photograph, 24.375" x 34.75"