Born and raised in Minnesota, Lyle Swedberg graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in architecture in 1942. Upon graduation, Swedberg was drafted and served in the Army Construction Division from 1942 to 1945. After WWII, Swedberg worked for the Tacoma construction firm of Ketner Bros, Inc. In 1947 he began his formal architectural career by serving as a draftsman for the Tacoma architectural firm of Mock & Morrison. He remained with the firm for just a year before opening his own independent practice.
Swedberg's projects ranged from small modest homes to multi-story condominium projects, to churches and community colleges. His early designs include Beckstead’s Red & White Grocery Store (1949); Concordia Lutheran School (1950); Dr. George Loring Dental Office (1950); Broadview Apartments (1951); Pierce County Fire Hall Dist No.3 (1952); Prudential Insurance Co. (1953); and First Unitarian Church (1958), all in Tacoma. Pushing the architectural envelope in the small eastern Washington town of Endicott, Swedberg provided a modern Miesian box for Dr. John Hardy’s Medical Clinic in 1954.
Swedberg’s design for the Redi-Gas Co. Building in Parkland received critical acclaim in several local and regional publications including Pacific Architect and Builder. The 1958 building utilized five 11’ x 4’ "Panelbilt" plywood barrel arches. The 8,000 sq ft building, housing a showroom, office, warehouse and shop, featured walnut faced plywood, and removable interior walls.
Swedberg’s other projects include the Campus plan and several structures at Tacoma Community College (1965-1968); Graham Square Shopping Center (1983) in Graham; University Village Shopping Center (1967) in University Place; and Olympic Shopping Center (1962) in Gig Harbor.
In the late 1970s, Swedberg’s son, John, a recent graduate of Washington State University’s architecture program, joined the firm. Later projects included the Sprinker Recreation Center (1975) in Parkland; and the Le-Mer Condominiums (1979) and One Stadium Way North Condominiums (1973) in Tacoma. One Stadium Way North, a 16-story edifice, was touted as the tallest building of grouted concrete on the West Coast at the time of its completion.
Swedberg retired in mid-1980s and passed away in Tacoma on October 10, 2001.
- Michael C. Houser