Douglas Bencks, university architect and director of campus planning, has been elevated to The College of Fellows of The American Institute of Architects — a top honor for anyone in the field, but considered a truly exceptional one for a university-based architect.
“The Jury of Fellows selected you for elevation to fellowship in the institute because of your notable contributions to the advancement of the profession of architecture,” John Padilla and John Sorrenti of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) wrote in a letter welcoming Bencks into this distinguished group.
“This is a great honor for Doug to be elected to The College of Fellows of The American Institute of Architects,” explains Christopher Clement, UNH vice president for finance and administration.
“It was overwhelming,” Bencks says, talking about the moment when he learned he had been chosen for this award. Sitting in Dimond Library, one of the many projects he is proud to have been a part of during his 27-year career at UNH, he adds, “I certainly never expected that I would be recognized. It’s a huge honor.”
At UNH, Bencks oversees master planning, capital planning and project planning as campus planner and design as university architect.
“Doug was selected for elevation to fellowship in the institute because of his tireless efforts in maintaining and promoting the period architectural design of the original campus buildings — circa 1893 — with the design and construction of modern buildings,” Clement notes.
Bencks explains that he considers the university’s history and what the campus has been in the past when working on projects to meet the current and future needs of UNH students.
“We have so many wonderful old buildings,” he says, “and part of my job is to be a steward for this campus.”
Bencks will receive his fellowship medal at the Investiture of Fellows Ceremony during the AIA Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in May.