One might not readily identify a 500-mile backpack as a traditional way to get your batteries charged up to launch a professional career, but it was the perfect activity to precipitate Hugo Fenaux joining Centerbrook.

Upon graduation with a master’s degree from the esteemed Yale School of Architecture, Hugo journeyed El Camino de Santiago with an architecture classmate. Historically known as a Christian pilgrimage to the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great, the El Camino de Santiago journey begins in France and terminates in Spain.

“For most, it’s a religious pilgrimage,” said Fenaux (pronounced Fen-oh). “But it’s also this crazy architectural pilgrimage because you’re moving through five or six different geographical zones where the building types and cultures change drastically.”

It was the first time Hugo had done something like that, but it certainly wasn’t his first immersive experience. After earning a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Virginia near his hometown of Farmville, Hugo spent a little over a year as a staff designer for VMDO Architects before continuing his education at Yale. While at Yale he had four different Graduate Teaching Fellow assignments, highlighted by the celebrated Jim Vlock Building Project – a tradition started by the late Charles Moore, Centerbrook’s founding forefather.

Although he is aware of a great uncle who was an architect, Hugo was not born into the design profession. The son of a baker from Belgium and a small business owner from Michigan, Hugo first gained interest in the field during his initial semester at UVa when dorm mates enticed him to sit in on a survey course. An undeclared major at the time, Hugo was intrigued enough that by his second semester on campus he had transferred to the architecture school.

Now a full-time member of the Centerbrook staff, Hugo lives in Essex with his girlfriend, Brittany, who is also a graduate of the Yale School of Architecture.