Fellner Associates Architects has developed a reputation for creative design solutions for a variety of clientele including municipal, non-profit, corporate and private clients.
Geroge Fellner moved to East Haddam with his wife in 1987, where he started an architectural practice from their home. In subsequent years, his office moved around from Middletown to Higganum and then back to East Haddam in 2011.
“In a sense, it seems that I was drawn by destiny to return to the village area,” he said.
Patch posed questions to George Fellner about his East Haddam business to get to know him better. This is what he said.
Question: Going into business for yourself is incredibly hard. What made you take the leap?
Answer: The decision to be an architect was sparked when I was 13 years old. Thus, my entire educational experience was focused on a career in architecture. At the age of 32 after working for a number of architectural firms, I decided to make the leap and start my practice. When one establishes a sincere intention to set a life path, it is totally within one’s power to create this reality.
Question: How long did it take to go from idea to first customer?
Answer: I found my first client within about 2 weeks of starting my architectural practice. Initially, I worked out of my house. However, within a year as my clientele base expanded, I rented my first office space.
I moved my office to Middletown, sequentially occupying three different locations. In 1998, I relocated to Higganum for a 13-year period. In the summer of 2011, I moved again, this time back to East Haddam.
Question: What are you doing to attract and retain your customers during the economic recession?
Answer: We have managed to stay busy over the past challenging few years by focusing on our special strengths, attracting projects including banquet/conference/hospitality, health care, retail and custom residential building types. In addition, our expertise with sustainable design strategies has certainly been an asset. In addition, I am teaching sustainable design at the University of Hartford, College of Engineering, Technology and Architecture as an adjunct professor.
Question: What do you find the most rewarding about what you do?
Answer: Fellner Associates Architects (FAA) is committed to the development of responsive architectural solutions.
The most rewarding aspect of my work is the opportunity to integrate sustainable strategies resulting in environmentally responsive buildings. Through an understanding of site, climate, materials and alternative energy systems, FAA strives to design buildings that are resource/energy efficient and sensitive to the environment. This is achieved through the integral analysis and implementation of passive solar design, daylighting, recyclable/renewable materials, indoor air quality, water conservation, geothermal systems, solar systems, among other strategies.
Question: What's the biggest challenge you face in your business today?
Answer: The biggest challenge for an architectural practice is to continuously educate clients about the multi-dimensional benefits of sustainable design. While the short term advantages are certainly clear, the long term aspects are equally critical. Our planet exists in a delicate balance and it doesn’t take much to throw it out of synch. As architects, we have both the opportunities as well as the obligation to do our part in helping to implement the right strategies in order to help maintain a positive and sustainable future.
Question: Now for the classic interview question: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Answer: I would like to see my architectural firm involved with the highest and optimal level of sustainable design.
Question: What's your best advice for someone looking to start their own business?
Answer: Establish a sincere heartfelt goal, determine the methodology to achieve this, and go for it…!
Business name: Fellner Associates Architects
Owner: George Fellner, AIA
Business Address: 4 Norwich Road, P.O. Box 115, East Haddam, CT 06423
Hours of Operation: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Founding Date: 1987
What they do: Fellner Associates Architects (FAA) is involved with new projects as well as adaptive re-use, historical, renovations and expansions. FAA's experience has encompassed building types including banquet/conference & hospitality projects, fire stations, senior/youth centers, health care facilities, single/multi-family residential and commercial projects.
To find out how to have your business profiled on Patch, click . Note that businesses will be profiled in the order in which they are received.