Service Set for Herbert K. Fowler, Professor Emeritus of Architecture

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – A memorial service for Herbert Keatinge Fowler, a professor emeritus of architecture, will take place at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 31, on what would have been Fowler’s 87th birthday. The service will take place in Giffels Auditorium, Old Main. The traffic gate north of Old Main will be open from 2:30 to 3 p.m. to accommodate attendees with mobility challenges.

Fowler died last month after a long illness.

“Herb Fowler was a consummate teacher, both a gentle man and a gentleman,” said Jeff Shannon, dean of the School of Architecture. “He will be greatly missed.”

Fowler came to the University of Arkansas in 1952 to design the Animal Sciences Building, among the first structures on campus designed in the modern International style. Architecture department chair John Williams recognized his talent and hired Fowler, who went on to teach for 37 years at the university.

Murray Smart, a professor emeritus of architecture and former dean of the School of Architecture, praised Fowler’s teaching: “Herb was a listener as well as a teacher. He would talk to a student and find out what he wanted to accomplish, then help him reach his goals.”

Fowler’s research focused on medieval architecture and cities. He retraced pilgrimage routes through France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, developing an extensive knowledge of the churches and monasteries along these routes.

“He brought a special understanding to students about the role of churches and monasteries in medieval life, and their role as hospitals and hotels to pilgrims as they made a sacred, once-in-a-lifetime journey,” Smart said.

Throughout his teaching career, Fowler continued to design buildings in a style shaped by the clean functionality of the International style and the sensitivity to site and materials espoused by Frank Lloyd Wright. Fowler’s greatest design achievement was his own residence. Situated on a bluff west of Fayetteville, offering breathtaking views of the Boston Mountains, Deepwood was home to Fowler and his family for 35 years.

Herbert Fowler was born May 31, 1921, in Lewiston, Idaho, to Herbert Eugene Fowler and Mary Keatinge Fowler. He attended Yale University in 1939 but his studies were interrupted by Army service in the Pacific theater during World War II. After the war Fowler completed bachelor of arts and bachelor of architecture degrees at Yale. He subsequently worked at architectural firms in New Haven, Conn., and New York City. He met and married Marie Ellen “Judy” Booth in 1952, shortly before joining the University of Arkansas architecture faculty.

Fowler’s professional honors included a Fulbright Scholarship, which supported a year of study in Oslo, Norway, and two Rehmann scholarships. He was a member of the Society of Architectural Historians and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Late in his teaching career Fowler developed an advanced course, Design Determinants, that addressed tensions between philosophical and pragmatic considerations in design, and the social and environmental forces that help shape the design process. Fowler retired in 1989 as a professor emeritus, but returned to teach this course by popular demand.

In 2007, Fowler’s family established the Herbert K. Fowler Award at the School of Architecture. Each year, an architecture student with exceptional drawing ability is selected to receive the honor.

Fowler was preceded in death by his wife Judy in 2005. He is survived by his sisters Mary Elizabeth Fowler and Helen Eugenia "Jean" Parsons, his son Ian Keatinge Fowler and daughter-in-law Olga Luz Arango, his daughter Alison Cope Fowler, and grandson Oliver Luke Fowler. Memorials may be given to the following organizations:

The Humane Society of the Ozarks

The Darcy Fowler Memorial Book Fund, at the Fayetteville Public Library

KUAF (Fayetteville Public Radio)

Friends of Lake Wedington

Fayetteville Natural Heritage Society

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