Glenn Fellows, BFA in architecture, 1970, AIA, is the UNM School of Architecture and Planning's Distinguished Alum. He will be honored at an honors convocation Friday, Sept. 16 at 5:30 p.m. in George Pearl Hall. The event also recognizes the school's scholarship recipients.
Fellows said the year he finished his degree was the first year that the school offered a master's in architecture. He didn't pursue that degree because, he said, "I needed to work!"
And work he did. "I worked at seven firms and three different construction companies before coming to SMPC Architects as a consultant in 1978," he said. He is now a principal in the firm. His first project was with George Pearl, the "P" in SMPC. He points to a photo of the Main Library at 5th and Copper and the renovated Anderson Reading Room at Zimmerman Library as Pearl projects. "George's sketchbooks in his reading room in Pearl Hall feature sketches of the Anderson room furniture," Fellows said.
Regarding his own work, Fellows is most pleased with his school and higher education projects. He particularly likes "public projects where people assemble." He also worked on Isotopes Park. "It's one of the best projects we've been involved with lately. It involved our firm working with Populous, the City of Albuquerque and the ballclub owner. It was a tight budget and a tough schedule with opening day as the deadline. Most of our deadlines are much looser than that," he said.
Fellows was a military kid. He was born in Maryland. At the time, his father was an Air Force officer assigned to the Pentagon. The family lived in Okinawa and Turkey – his father was an Air Force liaison to NATO – and they also lived in New York, Utah and Ohio before his father retired and the family moved to Albuquerque in 1962.
He attended Valley High School, joined the Naval ROTC program there and then at UNM. Fellows was not destined to follow in his father's boot steps. "I decided I didn't like it and got out, but because I'd already taken the oath, I did active duty before coming back to UNM in 1967. I got accepted in the architecture department, which is what it was then," he said.
He attended UNM during years that saw tumult at many university campuses, including UNM. He said he was involved behind the scenes, making posters and banners, but he thinks his family's military history kept him from direct involvement.
He remembers a lot of pushing, shoving and yelling around the flag pole by Scholes Hall. "People were frustrated and needed to vent," he said.
He reflects, "But what we were learning was that strides needed to be made. Passive solar was big and we were learning sustainable principles, but they didn't really stick in the 1970s. I am happy to see it back and our firm supports sustainable design today. It's ingrained enough in learning and discussion that it has reached the population."
Sandy Eeds, a principal architect at Populous Sports Group, was one of his classmates. "I got to work with him on the Isotopes Park. He and James Sudbury and I hung out a lot together," he said, noting Sudbury's death several years ago. He said, "We were three of the 16 who graduated out of the 38 who started the program together."
He recalls Sebastian Schroeder, a Swiss architect, who taught third year studio with H Barker. "He and his wife, who taught second year, photographed projects every night, developed them in their apartment and brought them in each day," he said.
Bainbridge Bunting taught architectural history and "helped people get seriously organized," he said.
William Gafford taught structures. "He was great. He understood the relationship between structure and architecture and explained it so that we understood it," Fellows said.
Since 2001, Fellows has served as a member of the UNM School of Architecture and Planning Dean's Council for Design and Planning Excellence. His service included working on the capitol campaign committee for the George Pearl Hall building.
Fellows has helped New Mexico architects maintain a leading voice and position within the construction industry. He has expressed architects concerns and has gained the support of general contractors and engineers in lobbying the NM State Executive and Legislative Branches.
As AIA New Mexico President in 2000, Fellows organized New Mexico Architects to assist the citizens of Los Alamos in recovering from the tragedies of the Cerro Grande Fire. He coordinated with AIA National and gained assistance from Charles Harper, FAIA who came to New Mexico and helped teach local architects to assess damage to structures that were partially damaged by the fire. He also helped organize and participated in a series of local planning charrettes over the subsequent months that identified and addressed the need for new planning and zoning guidelines for Los Alamos County in the areas affected by the fire.
Away from architecture, Fellows takes in Lobo basketball. He's a long-time men's season ticketholder and also frequents the women's games. He follows Lobo baseball and soccer and has been a coach for youth soccer and softball. He's not all sidelines, however. He plays golf, boasting an 11 handicap.
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