Bill Sabatini elevated to the AIA College of Fellows

Congratulations William Q. Sabatini, FAIA


- Roger L. Schluntz, FAIA

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has elevated architect Bill Sabatini, FAIA, ACHA to the prestigious College of Fellows. The election to Fellowship recognizes Bill's achievements as an architect and honors his significant contribution to architecture and society on a national level.

As the design principal and an original founder of Dekker/Perich/Sabatini, Bill has completed hundreds of projects, earned the respect of the community and his peers, characterized by his colleagues as "generous" and "open", and has contributed to the growth and success of the firm, which has been ranked by ENR Southwest as the top architecture firm for the past three years.

“It’s an honor to be elevated to the AIA Fellowship,” said Bill Sabatini. “I have been fortunate to work surrounded by the beauty of the Southwest, supported and inspired by colleagues, and motivated and challenged by program-driven projects that clients envision to make our communities stronger.”

Over his 40 years of practice, Bill has created a compelling body of work focused on program-driven architecture, encompassing healthcare, educational, commercial, and research facilities. He is one of only 400 architects nationally certified by the American College of Healthcare Architects and has contributed to the design of large healthcare projects, including ground-up hospitals for Presbyterian Healthcare Services, Indian Health Service, and Good Samaritan Healthcare.

His work demonstrates a rigor, energy, and passion for creative expression - coordinating culture, tradition, and utility. Bill maximizes functionality and architectural impact through the tenets of simplicity, function, context, and user-experience. His love for the desert Southwest is evidenced in his work which embraces natural light and expansive views and uses common sense approaches to achieve climate responsive design.

Bill and all Fellowship recipients were honored on May 20 at the Investiture Ceremony during the 2016 AIA National Convention in Philadelphia. Recipients were elected by a jury that considered each individual’s body of work, notable contribution to the practice, widespread recognition, the sharing of knowledge and leadership in the AIA. About 3,200 of 85,000 members of the AIA have been named Fellows.

Selected Works

Mariposa Town Center

In high desert hills set against a backdrop of vast skies, magnificent views and colorful native landscape, the Mariposa Town Center anchors a new sustainable community on 4,000 pristine acres northwest of Albuquerque, NM. Commissioned by the developers to set the design precedent for the town center, the design is inspired by the physical and historic context of New Mexico. Using contemporary interpretations of traditional architectural features, the design team sought to adhere to the following the essential qualities defining New Mexico vernacular architecture.

El Camino Real International Heritage Center

El Camino Real played a critical role in establishing and sustaining the commerce of settlements and mines of northern Mexico, now the states of Chihuahua and Durango, as well as the venerable missions, presidios and colonial settlements of New Mexico. For thousands of years prior to being named El Camino Real, the trail served as the trade route for our ancient peoples, the Anasazi and later, Pueblo Indians. El Camino Real was a dynamic agent of change altering the history, population, ecology and economy of northern Mexico and the southwestern United Sates.

The Heritage Center building concept is metaphorically like a ship forging uncharted waters, its mast and bow remaining constant, providing direction to the New World. The structure honors the 600 years of travel, the arduous journey from Mexico City, the point of survival out of the Jornada del Muerto, the Journey of Death and ending in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The building is expressed as an unfettered line, from initial entry, through its interior, and out to an observation deck, suspended over the Rio Grande Valley on the mesa's edge. Traversing the desert landscape, visitors may view the Rio Grande valley, the dramatic backdrop of natural landmarks and the historic trail beyond, virtually untouched, in much the same manner as did the conquistadors, missionaries and merchants over six centuries ago.

Center for Molecular Medicine

This dynamic center is comprised of two major components: a four-story biological research laboratory building with wet labs, investigator offices, and a vivarium located on the sub-grade level to control vibration and temperature, and a three-story medical office building housing clinics, administrative offices, food service, general classrooms, a 100-seat auditorium, and a main lobby as entry to the complex.

Centennial High School

In an effort to reduce dropout rates and provide students a strong sense of community and personal attention, classrooms at this 330,000sf, 160-acre high school are organized into small learning communities that become the home base of both students and instructors. A separate 9th grade academy promotes student retention and eases the transition to high school.

The potentially overwhelming scale of the school was transformed into a welcoming, state-of-the-art environment with a site solution that integrates buildings and outdoor spaces with the natural topography. Separate buildings are organized around a major axial space which bisects the site diagonally to create two basic zones—active on the west and passive on the east. The space provides a major outdoor pedestrian plaza to form the heart of the school and a strong sense of place. The pedestrian spine, oriented to views of the Organ Mountains to the east and the Rio Grande Valley to the west provides a continuous pathway from the active playfields on the low end to the quiet classroom clusters at the top of the site.

Jefferson Green Office Building

The design of this three-story, 81,000sf office building focused on incorporating meaningful sustainable features into a market-rate speculative office building. The design team focused on selecting strategies that would enhance the daily experience of building occupants, support local businesses, and make financial sense in terms of initial investment and operational savings. The building has achieved an ENERGY STAR rating of 99 each year since completion. The exterior design responds to the solar orientation, combining historic building traditions with high-tech performance by combining a thick stucco wall with deeply recessed windows with a sleek curtain wall system. The glazing and shading strategies vary according to the orientation of each façade. The site was designed to maintain the existing mature trees, and direct run off to the planted areas to promote natural water harvesting and reduce irrigation requirements throughout the site. The lease space was constructed on raised floor with underfloor air distribution which saves energy, provides flexibility for future layout changes, and distributes air to diffusers near each occupant to allow individual temperature control.

BlueCross BlueShield Corporate Headquarters

Working hand-in-hand with the parent company’s corporate real estate leadership to meet the long term needs of the company, this facility provides a highly visible corporate identity for BlueCross BlueShield in New Mexico, located at Albuquerque’s northern gateway along Interstate 25. The building was conceived as two narrow office wings straddling both sides of the building core, with the main entry lobby oriented to dramatic views of neighboring, Sandia Mountains to the east. Large expanses of carefully controlled glazing, as well as the narrow building footprint, provide excellent natural day lighting without unwanted glare. The building exterior is expressed in layered exterior building elements of glass, stucco and metal skin.

Presbyterian Rust Medical Center

A major expansion in the Albuquerque metro area, initial work included developing a master plan for the 60+ acre site. Using evidence based principles and lean processes, the medical center meets the client's goals for innovation and change to meet the national healthcare initiative, 'Patient Centered Care.' A de-centralized nurse station strategy reduces walking distances by over 180 miles per year. Innovative features include adaptable patient rooms with views and natural light and evidence based strategies to reduce length of stay. With shading to mitigate harsh solar exposures, the fenestration takes advantage of dramatic mountain views in all directions.

San Juan College School of Energy

A winner of a design-build competition, the facility provides classroom and lab space designed to teach workforce training for the oil and gas industry in addition to degree programs for the College. The building is oriented parallel to and stepping down the contours of a steeply sloping hill providing a wide footprint. Two-story high lab spaces are arrayed adjacent to a two-story stack of classrooms to allow visual access between them. Where orientation dictates mitigation of sunlight, perforated metal screens are provided while also allowing views to the exterior. The design was implemented within the extremely modest budget by strictly adhering to the space program with an efficient plan, a compact form, a modular, repeating structural grid, and the use of readily available industrial materials for both the interior and exterior finishes. The simple form and texturally varied skin results in a simple, elegant and distinct image appropriate to the industry and teaching mission of the facility.