Malcolm Wells of South Yarmouth, Massachusetts | 1926 - 2009 | Guest Book

Malcolm Wells View the Obituary
Malcolm Wells

March 11, 1926 - November 27, 2009

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Michael Monterey of Colorado

May 01, 2015

Hi. Just found this opportunity to express condolences and appreciation. Malcolm has been one of my very few bioneering architectural mentors & culture heroes. I'm glad Malcolm had such a fulfilling life, but wish it could have lasted longer. I'm sure he's gone on to an even more wonderful lifetime. Blessings & Blissings to you all, his blessed & no doubt well beloved family. BTW, after his passing I did an expanded update of his rating form.

Yin Yang
Hamilton Hall of Camden, Maine

April 30, 2015

Most influential in my studies, designs, hopes, and plans for earth sheltered buildings.

john twomey of Melbourne, Australia

January 24, 2015

I have only just become aware of Mr Malcolm Wells and his valuable contribution to informing on and promoting ecologically sound building and living. A notable life. Sorry for your loss.

eda toker of Konya,Turkey

December 30, 2014

Dear family of Mr Wells,
I discovered about him when we were studying with my husband about his master thesis ,I'm happy to learn about such a lovely man,I wish his ideas come true all over the world

Yin Yang
C C of Tucson, AZ

September 08, 2014

My belated condolences to the family of a man who was truly ahead of his time... and in architecture we have yet to catch up.

Gerald A. "Tony" Jeffris of Brasilia, Brazil

July 27, 2014

Dear Wells Family, I ordered some of your Dad's books a few years ago. He was a pioneering and inspirational individuaI. I thank him for promoting the previously unrecognized art and craft of subterranean architecture. He made a great contribution for which I am sure you are all very proud. Thank you, Mr. Malcolm Wells, for revealing something to our society that we must surely continue to develop and promote.

imogen gladman (nee Haigh) of Bristol, UK

November 15, 2013

My deep sympathies to Malcolm's family.

As a 21 yr old Anthropology student at Edinburgh University, Scotland, I wrote to Malcolm for information and help with my dissertation - he wrote back with so much help and cut out information and articles. We corresponded for a while and his spark and ideas stayed with me. I am 40 now with a husband and 2 sons and researching the area again to build a home for us to grow old in.

All that we talked about will go into this home. Thank you. Imogen.

Donlad N Wright of Garland, Texas

November 13, 2013

I addressed him as Mr. Underground. I have bought several of his books twice, as I loan them out and never see them again. I guess it is time to buy more, before I go underground forever.

Dano of Victoria, BC

May 04, 2013

It is sandcastle season again, when I pull out my copy of Sand-tiquity for inspiration. Thanks Malcolm (and friends)for providing me with guidance for a healthy relationship with the the natural world around us. Your legacy continues to my grandchildren who are now the beneficiaries of my love for getting hands dirty.

Andy O'Brien of Nova Scotia, Canada

January 26, 2013

One the first architecture books I ever referenced was written by Malcolm. The book was so previously loved and well read, and it appeared in it's writing to be the culmination of a life's work, that it having been written before I was born, never occured to me that the author would have still been in pratice when I acquired the book. Malcolm has both influenced and inspired much of my architectural practice, we have all suffered a loss at the passing of such genius.

Gerald Jones of Louin, MS

December 04, 2012

I spoke to Mr. Wells once and thanked him for his incredible contributions. I'm glad I got to speak to a great man before he passed.

He has been a major influence on my life and my construction. I dedicate my new house to him.

Capt Jer of Toro, Cape Cod

December 02, 2012

Mac will be missed for his thoughts and contributions to our planet. It's was rare to have a person of his talents and who knows how long it will be before someone else even comes close. His love of Cape Cod, his underground homes and an embracement of life is his legacy.


Capt Jer

Breck Craparo of San Diego, California

September 07, 2012

Two days ago I bought an older, dented copy of one of Malcolm's books at a used book store in Austin. I was instantly seduced by the simple, witty illustrations. As a recent architecture school graduate, I am embarrassed by the trend toward form, rather than a holistic partnership with the earth he so passionately pursued. I am sorry to hear of his passing. I was looking forward to writing him -- by hand of course.

Gary Barr of Las Vegas, Nevada

June 26, 2012

I started architectural school in 1974 with the intense desire to learn all about environmental architecture. Naturally I discovered Architect Malcolm Wells as a major leader in architectural circles in this endeavor. I resultingly ordered several of his publications of the time. I also asked him a few questions of which I have no real record. But, I do recall him taking the time to scribble a note to wish me the best in my endeavors. I followed his career as well as I could as I began mine. I observed his, and my, many ups and downs of the architectural profession. However, I never lost sight of the fact that he will always be known as one of the best architectural innovators and free thinkers of his time, and way ahead of his time. I personally put him shoulder to shoulder with FLLW. His work is more relevant today than ever. Let's hope the world starts coming around to his green vision before it self destructs. Thank you, Malcolm Wells, for all you did for us, for the light you gave!!!!!!!!!!

Antoinette Ledzian of Stonington, CT

May 01, 2012

With great sadness, I just came across this notice of Malcolm's passing. I treasure the whimsical correspondence we received from him years ago on a paper bag! His spirit lives on in so many memories of his kindness, uniqueness and creativity. What a rare soul.
In deepest sympathy we send our love. Antoinette and Richard

Yin Yang
Thomas Jacques of Riverside, CA

March 21, 2012

Sadly I found you just recently, several years too late to tell you in person, or in email, but you book and ideas are amazing. Very inspiring. Thank You.

Nigel of UK

February 04, 2012 have inspired me to start again...I got it wrong and gave up... now for you in your name.... I am going to get it right

Dietmar Koch of Graz, Austria - Europe

January 29, 2012

Dear Mac,
unfortunatelly you are not alive anymore, but I still want to tell you, how much you inspired my ideas and visions ever since I read your first book.
In 1994 I had the chance to take a visist to you and Karen in Brewster whilst touring through america. I was very impressed of both of you.
Today we build passivhouses, who need nearly no more energy, many of them are integrated in green parks and the roofes are green gras covered. I bet you would like it.
Thank you so much for inspiring me - you friend in spirits Dietmar

glenn ford of orijjia ontario

December 08, 2011

once in a while, there comes a human who lives in tune and harmony with mother. there is the
blessings....the great spirit


Wade Fox of Naples,NY

December 03, 2011

You inspire me. I did not learn about you until 2006. Designing your Natural House is my favorite and I thank you for it. I wish I could have met you before you passed. Rest in peace, your message is heard.

Andy C Sneed of Seattle, Washington

November 03, 2011


Would have been awsome to have designed and build together...if only in spirit, I'm sure you're with me.


George Dyke of Toronto, Canada

October 23, 2011

I first read Mac's Underground Deigns book in the late 1970's and Gentle Architecture in the early 1980's. It awakened a desire in both myself and my wife to live in the environmental non-impact manner Mac evangelized. I later read Mac's Recovering America and was inspired again. Mac's passion and humanitarianism reached out from every page he wrote. Fortunately we had the opportunity to meet Mac (and Karen) in person at their Cape Cod home. One would be hard pressed to meet a more warm, sincere and welcoming person.
A true legend in architecture with a charming and uncharacteristic sense of modesty. Mac even took the time to send us a beautiful handwritten note saying how much he enjoyed our visit. In a world that is becoming increasingly impersonal and enslaved to technology, I often reflect on Mac's grass-roots beliefs that he just didn't preach, but lived and practiced every day. I sincerely hope we, and all future generations, can discover his works and take conscious heed to live in the manner he envisioned. Congratulations on a genuine life, well lived, in which you have contributed immensely to showing how we should be treating the planet and its cohabitants.

CC Phillips of Charleston,S.C

August 17, 2011

I first learned of Malcolm back in 2004.I purchased a book from him and when I recieved it,there was a yellow sticky note on top that read,"Sorry so late,Damn near 80,and half blind."I laughed.I am convinced,his type of architecture is the only type that is responsible and easy on Nature.You have inspired many.Love,CC

Yin Yang
Matt Weaver of Plymouth, MA

June 04, 2011

Dear All,

I had the pleasure of talking with Malcolm and having him inspire me for the rest of my life. His forward thinking and concepts of how we need to live on the Earth will be with us forever. He has led the way to our future if we are to continue as a species on our fragile planet.

He will be greatly missed, however I plan to talk about his vision with everyone I meet and will carry on the dream. Thank you Malcolm - a job well done!


Darshano Tobolsky of San Diego, CA

June 01, 2011

Beloved Mac,

The significant architects of the 20-21st century, of which I count on one hand, have contributed a great deal to future architecture. Of these gentlemen, I regard Malcolm Wells as a truly independent thinker...I can hear him now, ranting away some apparent truth such as "buy cheap land and then build a house underground"...again and again, he elucidated the many merits of going underground... and every time, in his books, he would agitate and disturb the conventional designers...whether bird houses or civic buildings, he would urge aspiring architects to bypass everything they had learned in architecture school... to "abandon convention, do the correct thing, respect nature, blend in with nature" by hiding ugly man-made structures.

God loved this man very much, to have given him the unique footprint that he left on this earth.

We love you very much...and thank you for you...


paul of canada

April 15, 2011

You were a hero of mine.
Thank you for what you have done in the world.

J.E. Dear of Woodbury, NJ

March 14, 2011

What a loss to the world. Mr. Wells was a man of innovation, creativity and pragmatism. Despite years of studying architecture and visiting outstanding examples, I had never stood inside an underground home until three years ago when I saw Mr. Wells' old studio in Cherry Hill when it was for sale. Being inside was a surprise. Both the sense of shelter and comfort and the many sources of light, from deep light wells to high skylights, were a delight. His concepts should be taught in every school so that, after becoming adults, people can shop for houses with a list of the features he stressed. That would change the housing market as well as our environment--much for the better. May he inspire many successors!

Giorgio& Nancy Lo Bue of Marstons Mills,MA

February 26, 2011

Sorry for your loss and the loss to those who admired your husband and his imagination and inventiveness to help conserve the environment. We actually are living in one of his inspired designs built in the Mills. We moved here to the Cape to purchase this home which we have loved for 15 years. Respectfully the Lo Bue's


February 19, 2011
Underground greenhouse
This is my new website, please visit!

kevin morel rowlinson of liverpool, england

February 07, 2011

malcolm, you were so kind to me. i miss your presence, that you were only ever a letter away. I don't think you knew how many people you inspired here in england. your humility is something that i can only aspire to. you, and you alone, were the true inspiration behind the british earth sheltering association. as ee cummings put it, 'he who asks the beautiful question gets the beautiful answer', and you always, always asked the beautiful question. i feel a great sadness at your passing.

Susan Andrew of Dickinson, Texas

February 04, 2011

To Karen in particular...thank you for your note last year explaining how Mac died and giving me the website to go to. I know that you still miss him. He was a wonderful person who I got to "know" reading one of his books and when visiting the gallery. I enjoyed his prize winning painting of the parking lot at Nauset and titled something like "Wreck Creation." It told me a lot about his personality. I have a few of his sketches framed and scattered about the house in Texas. We will remember him and he is known in the part of Texas! Sincerely, Susan

Hrolfur Cela of Kópavogur, Iceland

January 31, 2011

I´m very sorry for your loss. He was and will continue to be a great inspiration.

mary chris of medford, NJ

January 16, 2011

I was just learning about Mr Wells and his works. I am so sorry for your loss.

Moon and Star
Ron Ridenour of Lake Five, Montana

December 30, 2010

An early 90’s article in New Age Magazine put me in contact with Malcolm Wells. Montana land at Lake Five my grandparents homesteaded needed the optimal project. It would take money to build a structure. More importantly, I needed to purchase this property from my mother or I needed to convince her the place was too special to sell. I would not have endured the sale of the most beautiful place on earth and it was on the block. I wrote a letter and with Mac’s beautifully penned reply I knew his vision was what the project needed. The picture I sent of a grizzly eating from a sarvice berry bush with Lake Five as a backdrop is what Mac said convinced him he would help. My tenacity and Malcolm Wells’ watercolor drawings swayed history. The sale stalled and withdrew. Although funding for the project never arrived, I am confident our dream will happen. Someday underground architecture will be everywhere. If a center can be built, dedicated to beauty, love and to Malcolm Wells, I have the perfect spot. It is at Lake Five and Mac’s design for this property and our future is the nicest I’ve encountered. His drawings are wonderful, his understanding of perspective unparalleled and in these times when words of praise are thrown about easily, two words come to my mind about Malcolm Wells. The first is genius. Unsung, and although he would chuckle and deny it, deservedly so. The second is totally true. My hero.

Yin Yang
Claude Salisbury of Eminence, Ky

December 23, 2010

I did not know that Mac had passed, I have been trying read every thing I could find under ground houses from the time I got out of high school in 1975 till now,I have stayed in under homes for a weekend to a month.
I hope to build my own under ground home in the 5 years. I hope it come true because living on top the ground is no way to live..
Thank you very much Mac. for getting the idea living in a under ground home growing as much it is now, CLAUDE SALISBURY.

Maura Dey of Moorestown NJ/Brewster MA

December 20, 2010

So sorry to hear of Mac's passing. I enjoyed stopping by the gallery in Brewster and chatting with him and I also currently enjoy living in a home that he designed (circa 1960) in New Jersey. There are several of his designs around here, including the town library. A local architect here in NJ told me of his passing and described him as one of the "famous architects." He seemed like a genuine character and fun-loving guy.

Lily P

December 20, 2010

When I was fifteen, I wrote a letter to Malcolm after reading Gentle Architecture, which I'd stumbled across in the library. I wanted to be an architect, and I wanted advice. A couple of weeks later, he sent back my letter, corrected in red pen, along with his own words of advice and more books. His intelligence, encouragement and humor taught me so much. I never did become an architect, but I think often of his influence on me at such an important time. I am sorry to discover he is no longer at work in this world.

Yin Yang
Keith Dewey of Weston, Vermont

October 18, 2010

Malcohm's vision was the initial driving force behind my architectural career.

I talked to him in 1981 when few of us were designing earth sheltered buildings. He warned me about the inherent evils of using CAD and computers relative to good organic design... he was right. If the world was built like we envisioned it would be a far better place.

Daniel Blasco of Colorado Springs

October 13, 2010

Gosh I wasn't expecting to learn that Malcolm Wells died. I had actually just Googled him wanting to see any of his latest work. Apparently quite literally until the day he died and even now, Mr. Wells remains the go-to-guy for fresh ideas in underground architecture. I wish I would've known him. I suppose I must be one of the many he impacted and influenced never even knowing the contribution he made to my own thinking about design.

Paul Downton of Adelaide, South Australia

October 09, 2010

My condolences go to his wife and family, and though I never met him, I will miss Malcolm Wells. This man has inspired my own work for many, many years. His legacy is much more than his buildings. He was one of the earliest pioneers for ways of making our human habitat that are recognised as essential to what everyone now calls a 'sustainable' future. Green roofs, solar energy, causing no harm – properly gentle architecture. Our world needs his ideas as never before. A truly great man.

Bill Bunting of Emu Plains, NSW, Australia

October 07, 2010

I discovered Malcolm's work in the seventies and have been a life long fan of his design style. His work with reinforced earth and earth sheltered buildings was innovative and brave. His work remains, and will be viewed in time as being THE architecture for a world suffering as global warming's effects take hold. His passing is a loss to us all.

r. bryant of minneapolis mn

September 13, 2010

I was luck enough to get a review copy of his "Underground Plans" book in 1980 while helping at an architectural magazine in KY. Carried it around for years now. I am so sorry to hear that he has passed away. A creative and intelligent man. His perspective and ideas will be greatly missed in this world. My condolences to his family.

Jonas Sayer of Pullman, Washington

September 08, 2010

Thank You, Malcolm Wells, for being an inspiration to my thesis in architecture school. Your writing and beautiful illustrations will always be remembered, your encouraging and kind words in your letters to me cherished.

Steven Kirk Mason of Coventry, New York

August 30, 2010

Thank you Malcolm, for your generous wisdom.

Love from the Heart,

jane parker-ambrose of denver, co

August 17, 2010

It has taken me 30+ years to find the architect that designed the underground house that I have been in love with and wanted to share in the sensuality of the structure with the creator. I am so sad and sit with tears in my eyes to see he has passed.

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Peter Spaulding of Boulder, Co

June 12, 2010

Karen and to the extended family who knew Malcolm (Mac),

I want to thank you again for letting me participate in recreating one of Mac's projects in Revit. The more I learn about him the more I... feel a sense of kinship. I too am a Marine (First Persain Gulf War), atheist, and, currently, double major Architecture and Urban Planning with a focus on complimenting and nuturing Nature. Though the loss is significant, what a great celebration of a life. Everytime I think of him I know exactly where I need to travel. Thank you for peace of mind and thank you to all those who shaped him; every successful individual achieves their status because of the community that surrounds them.


Peter M. H. Spaulding

Nacho Pineda of Madrid, SPAIN

June 05, 2010

I feel very lucky knowing about Malcolm Architecture. Feel sad because of his dead. Great work malcolm. I would have liked to know you in person. Kisses and hugs for the family

Yin Lung Lee of Tokyo

May 16, 2010

His work was truly inspirational, and he will be missed.

Rest in peace.

Tim Griffiths of Nova Scotia

May 14, 2010

Truly an inspirational man, it was with sadness that I read of his passing. Though he life may have ended, his work will live on to inspire many generations.

R.I.P. Malcom (Mac) Wells

Em Phatico of British Columbia

May 11, 2010

Mrs. Wells (and the previous Mrs. Wells) and all the younger Wells:

Thank you for taking such good care of Mister Mac for so many years! I pray that you will also be able to take good care of yourselves and each other.

Mac was (and is!) an inspiration the-world-over of what extraordinary things may be done with ordinary materials. Mac was just one such "extra/ordinary materials" himself, and many would do well to learn from him.

He IS missed - and YOU are appreciated!

Ross Ramus of Melbourne, Australia

May 08, 2010

My condolences to members of Malcolm's family.

With fond memories of a uniquely talented and committed architect; generous to a young colleague, in spirit and in kind.

Ross Ramus

Sam Chapin of Eustis, Florida

April 26, 2010

Karen, I have just looked at a few letters from Mac and realize how much I miss writing to him and decorating the envelopes and having his encouragement. A look through the notes shows how many others enjoyed the same. We sail with Jerry Beck, who was a friend of Sam's I think he told me-- the small world that stretches around the globe. Sam

Mikolaj Bialko of Cracow. Poland

April 24, 2010

Thank you Mr. Wells for inspiration you gave to me and others with your way of thinking about nature and buildings. Thank you.

Alex Haulman of Bakersfield, California

April 09, 2010

I have been deeply influenced by the design and words of Malcolm. He will be greatly missed in the world of sustainable architecture and design.

Doug Walter of Denver, CO

April 07, 2010

Mac is the reason I became an architect. I met him through my mother, who worked at RCA in the 50's and 60's when Mac was in his corporate phase. I watched his emergence, 40 years before most of us, as a Greenie.
He was always kind, clever, caring, and thoughtful.
I remember him rattling around in his magnificent above-ground offices after letting most the staff go, watching in amazement as he carved out his kiva behind the main office, and devouring his columns in the Courier Post.
He was truly the voice of sanity in a suburbia gone wild.
I'll miss you, Mac!

Yin Yang
Richard Wells of Australia

April 07, 2010

I always wanted to meet this guy, but alas it was not to be, although to me Malcolm Wells will live on through his splendid architectural visions. Although perchance we shall not see the likes of him again, we are all so much richer for having been exposed to his ideas. Sent with my best wishes to his family.

Ray Richards of Brighton, UK

March 22, 2010

I've just stumbled across Malcolm's work and self-authored obituary. He made me laugh . . . lots. I have no doubt he made you laugh lots too.

You must miss the laugh and the creativity and probably much much more.

I'm off to build an underground house. I hope he'd have liked that.


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Tim Trapp of Rancho Viejo, Texas

March 21, 2010

I met Mr. Wells when I was an architectural student at KSU back in the 1970’s. I had seen his Underground Design book and was very impressed by it. I attended every “lecture” and workshop that he offered while he was in Manhattan (Kansas). We asked many questions, but mostly we wanted details that showed us how to keep the buildings dry. Mr. Wells would laugh and say, “Yes, everyone wants the details”!

I only practiced architecture for two years before joining my parents business in Rancho Viejo, Texas. Over the years I bought, Underground Designs, Gentle Architecture, Designing Your Natural House and How to Build an Underground House. I would always get a kick out of receiving a note from “Mac” when I received whatever item I had ordered. I felt important, in that someone I so respected would have the time to write to me like that. Someday I’m going build an underground house.

Upon reading Mr. Wells obituary I noticed that he wrote that he was an atheist and a Democrat. Well, I’m a Christian (albeit a poor example) and a Republican, although more of a Conservative Libertarian. I believe that many of the same principles that made Mr. Wells think the way he thought, makes me think the way I think. Principles that justify a conscientious way of building and living are reconcilable, and shouldn’t divide political thought. I wish we could have talked about it.
I was very sad to hear that he had passed away.

Miguel Avila of EL SALVADOR

March 12, 2010

He was impress how far people try to follow his example.

Best Wishes

Miguel Avila

Jefferson Krauss of Essex, Vermont

February 28, 2010

Hello Karen and the Wells family:

I am a retired Brewster police officer who came to know Mac over the years. I truly liked him and enjoyed the limited interaction we shared.

I recommended a book to him ("Addicted to Danger" by Jim Wickwire) shortly before he embarked on an adventurous hiking trip in Utah. Afterward Mac wrote to me with a review of the book and we spoke and corresponded from time to time afterward.

When I decided to retire and move to Vermont, I dropped in at the gallery to let him know. He listened to my plans with genuine interest and gave me, as a retirement gift I suppose, a copy of "Recovering America", a book I truly admire and which I find myself pulling from the shelf quite often.

Mac, in my opinion, was a great guy, and a forward thinker. Unlike him, I am not an atheist, and I believe in some sort of "living" after this. I believe that each of us will receive in some way an understanding of all that is, and why we lived.

I trust that Mac is there (somewhere) discussing his ideas with others and reveling in the liberty of complete and unabridged knowledge.

My family and I send our condolences from Vermont, with the understanding that the world is a better place because Mac existed in it.

P.S. We also have two of Karen's prints which we love. She is a highly talented artist.

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Randy of Scottsdale, Az.

February 22, 2010


Yes, I am sorry about your grief.
I will always hope for you and yours that the memories of Malcolm will give you Strength For What Remains Ahead. When we look back there is always beauty there.

Best to you always my old'friend from South Side.


Michael Schunk of Thetford,VT

February 08, 2010

I sorry to here about the passing of your father, Sam.

Jim Strother of Nelson, British Columbia

February 03, 2010

About ten years ago I decided to begin a new business. I hoped to be able to combine my interest and education in environment matters with my construction experience, but I wasn't really sure how to go about it. So I wrote letters to many different people - anyone I had read or heard of who worked in the field of green design or building, hoping they might have some words of advice.

Malcolm was the only one to reply, and with a hand-written letter which I have kept and treasured to this day. He was an inspiration for more than just his architectural ideas.


January 22, 2010

January 21, 2010

To: Karen North Wells

Re: JMW reply to yours re Mac Wells

Aloha Karen,

Mahalo for your card and note. As Mac always wrote post cards to me I feared the worst when I saw the
envelope with only your name on it.

Mac is one of my most unforgettable
characters. I met him 35 years ago and visited your home. We've kept in touch since - as he sends me a handwritten card - in response to my holiday greetings each year. I
have kept most of his, as they're always interesting, witty and ones that I've felt are worth saving - but I never realized why until now.

I have some books Mac sent me, I think Sandcastles is my favorite or at least that's how I refer to it. It's in my library at my home and I'm writing from my office.

What I remember most about Mac is his passion to do things right or don't do it at all. He blessed me with that mantra and I never ever forgot it. Mahalo Mac!

Mac Wells is a man who truly made this world a better place for all and he set the example for others to follow. His message lives on.

Aloha 'Oe Mac Wells,


John Michael White

Rob Roy of West Chazy, New York

January 12, 2010

I first met Mac at one of his classic illustrated lectures, this one delivered at Cornell. He knew of my work in low-cost underground housing. I was sitting with my wife, Jaki, in the third row and Mac "heckled" me as a member of the audience, not the other way around, saying, for example, "Of course Rob Roy, there, in the third row, would have built this particular house for a quarter of what anyone else could do it for." We became good friends. He wrote an introduction to my "Complete Book of Underground Houses" and did all the wonderful cartoon drawings in my "Mortgage Free!" I bought and sold hundreds of his books over the years, and hope to continue to buy them from Karen, who we only met once, in Brewster. Like others, I will treasure the wonderful drawings that Mac would send along with our exchange of letters. We'll miss you, Mac. To Karen and all the Wells family, we extend our sympathy for your loss. He was a gentle man, indeed.

Celtic Cross
John Hamilton of Clearwater, FL - USA

January 09, 2010

Although I never met Malcolm personally, his ideas and thoughts came alive in his many books. It is those books that started me on a career building and designing energy efficient buildings. While not all I have designed or built has been earth sheltered, all of them carry forth some of those concepts or philosophies into them. I was very influenced by Gentle Architecture and the many other books Malcol wrote. A true pioneer, his work will be carried forth by those of us he inluenced. My respects to the family and loved ones - he was a visionary - and visionaries are few and far between.

Felix Scardapane of Lessoc Switzerland

January 07, 2010

The Father of Green Architecture movement in the US

I was inspired to become an Architect by an article I had read by Mac in 1975. Fresh out of Architecture school I would later move to Brewster Massachusetts to one-day see my Mentor stroll though the front door of the office where I was working at Brown and Lindquist. I would later build a model for him for a proposed school in Kingston New Jersey. Mac was everything I had imagined, he lived what he believed, biked to work, he constantly wrote articles to try to create real change. In all my travels I have never met anyone as genuine. I still have some of his sketches, a watercolor book and memories. I am convinced 50years from now he will be considered one of the most unsung heroes of our time. Especially when there is no more oil, the planet is 3° hotter and there are 10 billion souls fighting for something to eat.

Many young people today have heard Mac’s call. He is among the few people that can say their life has made the world a better place. Because of people like him maybe his grandchildren do not have to be the last to see the polar bear or ask, “where have all the flowers gone”?

My sincere condolences,

Felix Scardapane
Les Clos des Niveoles
Lessoc Switzerland

Daniel of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

January 04, 2010

As a young person, who in just the passed few days, has begun to discover the world of Underground Architecture thanks to a book that was handed to me, be assured Malcolms ideas and teachings will live on for a long time.

Norma Tumlin of Gravette, Arkansas-

January 03, 2010

I am sorry to here of Malcom's passing. I have read some of his books and have been very impressed with his ideas on building underground. I wish that I had been able to talk to Malcolm regarding his thoughts on this. He will be sorely missed.

Stephen Colley of San Antonio, Texas

December 29, 2009

Struggling with finding direction in environmentally appropriate design just five years out of architecture school, I read "Gentle Architecture," which had just been published that year. Malcolm Wells' words became and continue to be a predominant source of encouragement and inspiration in my work. You have my deepest condolences, and know that I am but one of many who are grateful to Malcolm. I only wish I had the pleasure to have met him.

josep of Lleida. Catalonia. Spain

December 29, 2009

My condolences..w're lucky, Mac is comming in paradaise. All my love at the familia Wells.

Ivan of Barcelona, Spain

December 28, 2009

Thanks for the heritage.

Ryan Cummings of Richmond, CA

December 28, 2009

I still remember finding his first book in the library. It made a big impression that I still feel to this day.

Daniel Granovsky of Fairlawn, NJ

December 26, 2009

Just earlier this afternoon I picked up a copy of "Recovering America" that I found lying around my attic. Two hours later, this most bizarre book has inspired me more than most things I've experienced in half an afternoon. I wanted to send a letter to Malcolm, and went online to find an up-to-date address. I was very sorry to hear news of his passing. I hope that his family will be comforted at this time of grief, and that Malcolm's legacy will help change the American landscape for the better.

John A. Tylawsky, P.E. of New Hampshire

December 25, 2009

Mr. Wells is very much an inspiration to me and I have followed his work throughout the years. As time went on and opportunity appeared I was able to finally begin the construction just this last year of an earth sheltered home in New Hampshire that my wife and I would retire to (see A large part of my motivation came from his work. In particular his 21st century concept that appeared on the back cover of "The Earth-Sheltered House" where he proposed "...Find Ruined Land, Build Underground..." That is just what I did; I bought a clear cut property and am building underground. I will miss him.

Ben White of Los Angeles

December 23, 2009

I discovered Mr. Wells through my research on underground architecture, and he impressed me as what I can only describe as a modern-day renaissance man, a man of not only brilliant and varied ideas, but of action and results... I confess to harboring a dream that one day I'd get to pick his brain in person... His written legacy will have to suffice.

Peace and comfort to the family.

Neil Foley of Winchester, MA

December 22, 2009

My condolences to the family.

Mark Schatzman of Arlington, Texas

December 20, 2009

Karen, I'm so sorry to hear about Malcolm's passing. I consider it a true treasure of my life to have spent that afternoon listening to him talk and being amazed that he would want to know about me & my family as well. I have the last postcard he mailed to me in my day timer as my bookmark. For some reason it feels right to have his signature around, keeping me looking toward the right path...

Peace be with you & your family.

Mark the OT from Texas

Phil & Eva Curran of Haddon Heights, New Jersey

December 19, 2009

We were sadden with the news of Mac's passing. We read the obituary in the local Courier-Post newspaper. I worked with him on the King's Christian School addition in Haddon Heights in the 70's. It was a pleasure seeing his sketches and the development of his design as he place the building gently into the slope on site. Thirty some years later, with the growth of the trees and other vegetation the school looks great! We have always been impressed with his commitment to "gentle architecture" and his sensitivy for nature. His spirit and creativiy will be missed.

Annette Heath of Mesa, AZ

December 18, 2009

I met Mr. Wells when he consulted with the Phoenix Zoo. What a kind, sweet. and gentle man he was. His underground architecture would be perfect for the Phoenix area. Sadly they don't have the foresignt here to realize this. His humanity, humor and the wonder of his drawings will be with me for the rest of my life. What a gift it was to spend time with him.

Rob Bartlett of Queen Creek, AZ

December 17, 2009

My condolences. Mr. Wells was an inspiration to me back in the early 90's as I fantasized about an underground house. I still have several of his books, and re-read them periodically. What a great fellow. I may yet build a house using the wisdom he passed on so generously. Thanks a bunch!

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will & aline Johnson of brewster,mass

December 15, 2009

Karen, we are very sorry for your loss. We remember meeting you two at Trader Joe's about a year ago. And I can see you two painting the steps at the Brewster ladies library!
Brewster and the world lost a visionary and good man.
Semper Fi, Mac

Valerie Gilson of Gales Ferry, CT

December 14, 2009

Growing up in the 60's and 70's, I lived just a couple of doors down from Malcolm Wells and his family in The Hunt Tract in Cherry Hill, NJ. "There goes Mac," my parents would say as we drove by him on his bicycle. We were usually on our way to the store a mile away, in our gas-guzzler. "He's really something," my mother would say, admiring his resolve to bike instead of drive to work.

As I got older, my parents took the time to explain to me why Mac was really something. He was a steward of the earth. He was the "real deal". And he always smiled and waved back at me as we drove by.

It may have taken some years to sink in, Mac, but your unintentional influence on me was not lost. By being your neighbor, I learned to appreciate earth-friendly, "gentle" architecture. I know how good it feels to ride my bike instead of drive the car. I smile and wave back. Thanks, Mr. Wells. You were, and are, the real deal.

Susan Wilson Southworth of Heathsville, VA

December 13, 2009

Kappy, Sam and John Wells are my second cousins. I grew up visiting their underground house in Cherry Hill, N.J., Mac Wells was such a kind man,who was so good to my grandmother, Nanny. I remember being amazed at his daughter Kappy's custom bed that Mac had build up high into a wall, the sprawling gardens covering the roof. We were in awe of his talent, loved being around his gentle humor and twinkle in his eye. I have not seen Mac in 40 years and am so sorry to hear of his passing. His face is the same serene face I remember.

Valerie Gilson of Gales Ferry, CT

December 13, 2009

Growing up in the 60's and 70's, I lived just a couple of doors down from Malcolm Wells and his family in The Hunt Tract in Cherry Hill, NJ. "There goes Mac," my parents would say as we drove by him on his bicycle. We were usually on our way to the store a mile away, in our gas-guzzler. "He's really something," my mother would say, admiring his resolve to bike instead of drive to work.

As I got older, my parents took the time to explain to me why Mac was really something. He was a steward of the earth. He was the "real deal". And he always smiled and waved back at me as we drove by.

It may have taken some years to sink in, Mac, but your unintentional influence on me was not lost. By being your neighbor, I learned to appreciate earth-friendly, "gentle" architecture. I know how good it feels to ride my bike instead of drive the car. I smile and wave back. Thanks, Mr. Wells. You were, and are, the real deal.

Luigi Lucato of Piemonte,Italy

December 13, 2009

A pioneer who with his work showed me the way ...

Luigi Lucato

Mike McCallum of Eugene, Oregon

December 12, 2009

I was lucky. I met Mac a few years ago when he visited U of O. He signed a copy of his book (dog eared and tattered)that I had carried for a long time with a dream. His dream still lives within us all, It does with me. I never saw his office but some day I will. And some day I will see his dreams and my own built and one with the universe we all create.

Lance Davis of Washington, DC

December 11, 2009

As an architecture student at Mississippi State, I frequently found myself roaming the library looking for inspiration and new books. One day, I pulled Gentle Architecture by Malcolm Wells off the shelf and fell in love with an idea, “Architects have a much greater responsibility than designing beautiful architecture”. I was struck by the image of the architect monster eating up nature. I found that my current path in school was going to send me down that same road. Since that time, I have focused my career on architecture that is, well, gentle. Through my career designing buildings, working with governments to adopt sustainable design principles, and now as a sustainability expert for the Federal government, I have carried many of Mr. Wells’ ideas into this latest round of buildings. So I leave you with a parting thought, “As what is left of his body becomes part of the earth again, I hope you can take comfort in knowing that a little bit of him continues to live in me.”

Dinah Devoto of Villa Hills, KY

December 11, 2009

I only know of Malcolm Wells because I signed up to get e-mails from his followers on a yahoo chat site. I have reviewed those e-mails diligently, trying to gather knowledge for the day when I too can join the rankings of the earth shelter owners. Malcolm Wells touched our hearts in ways he'd never dreamed I'm sure. His picture speaks a thousand words. I wish I could have known him.

Lois & Irvin Cohen of Reading, PA

December 11, 2009

We had the pleasure of having Mac design our home and our factory in Pennsylvania. After this business association we became life-long friends and are devastated by his loss. To Karen, Kappy, John and Sam we send our heartfelt condolences.

Lois & Irvin Cohen

December 11, 2009

Dave Hampton of Chicago, IL

December 11, 2009

Urban Habitat Chicago (UHC) wishes to express its deepest sympathies for the family of Mr. Wells.

The unique world which he envisioned - well-designed, earth-sheltered, energy-efficient buildings integrated beautifully and seamlessly into the landscape - strikes the imagination.

His influence on Urban Habitat Chicago is considerable.
Our immediate past president, Michael Repkin, who has a framed letter of his hanging in his home, first made his work known to some of us around 2004, and his beautifully illustrated books bolstered our early efforts to make green roofs and urban agriculture a reality.

His vision will continue to inspire our efforts to make cities better places by integrating more seamlessly the built with the natural environment.

Our organization will present a lecture on his work and legacy on January 5, 2010:

For us to adequately represent the man and his work, we would be most pleased for you to contribute to this event, either in spirit or in any other way you might see fit.

Again, our thoughts are with you all at this time and we wish you a sincere...


Urban Habitat Chicago

Rick Nelson of Greenwich, CT

December 10, 2009

Over the past weekend, my mother-in law asked if I knew of "Malcolm Wells, architect".

I told her that I knew of him, and asked "Why?".

She then proceeded to read his obituary from the Sunday edition of the New York Times. After that, I went and got all the books of mine he was in.

I've always admired him - from his beautiful drawing techniques, his steadfastness in Sustainability (of which he was a true pioneer) to his humor.

I wish I had the opportunity to have met him, because he had inspired me in more ways than I can recall.

My deepest condolences to his family.

David Woods of United Kingdom

December 10, 2009

Dear Mac, you have been my architectural inspiration from afar for the past 30 years. The fact you have now moved even further away will not lessen your influence.
Having enjoyed building an alternative bird house, I will treasure the letters we exchanged regarding blue tits and their different images either side of the Atlantic!
I'm sorry we never met.

Denny Campanell of Glendora, NJ

December 10, 2009

Just a note of sorrow that we lost a man of his vision. Many times I had visited the office in Cherry Hill and was always amazed how quiet it was with Rt 38 so close. I toured Solaria in Vincentown when trying to build my own energy eff home and bought the book on it's design. Though I never had the money to build it, I was able to take some of his ideas and incorporate them into my post and beam home. 31 years on 14 tanks of oil. Thanks Mr. Wells

Joe Bigard of Newton IL.

December 09, 2009

Very sad to hear of his passing,
one of his books was my first inspiration to begin to think of building underground, The more you read and thought of it the more convinced, of which we are now doing. His writings , I am sure inspired many underground beginnnings. He will always be an icon for such.

Dan White of Tampa, FL

December 09, 2009

I was saddened to hear of Mr.Wells passing. He inspired me to investigate earth sheltering in the 1970s which led to my life long career in the waterproofing and roofing industry.
His ideas are still the most practical and sustainable in the world today.

John Concannon of Chester, Virginia

December 09, 2009

As one of the vanguard of the baby boomers, it was through the writings of Mr. Wells that drew me into the Environmental shpere of life. I probably have three or four of his books, and regret never following through with my promise to myself to write him.

The world was better because persons like Malcolm Wells was in it.

Wells Moore of Hanover CT

December 09, 2009

Mac, I hope you were wrong about Heaven. I like to think you are enjoying the afterlife with Jack and Memom. I will miss you.

Don Isaacson of Cherry Hill, NJ

December 09, 2009


I know that Mac's larger than life presence will be with you far beyond memory.

rick okavage of georgetown, de

December 09, 2009

I never new Mr Wells, nor heard of him, but he was a genius and one of a few who made a difference on this earth.

David Stewart of Haddonfield, NJ

December 08, 2009

I never had the honor of meeting Mr. Wells. But as I grew up and came of age in Cherry Hill, NJ, discovering his work and philosophy was a great inspiration to me. Cherry Hill in the 1960s and 70s was the epitome of suburbia, yet Malcolm Wells showed that even in this arid landscape new ideas could grow and prosper.He will be missed, but I am thankful so many of his ideas have been taken up and propagated throughout the world.

Sally Gunning of Cape Cod, MA

December 08, 2009

Only realizing it won't happen again do I realize how important it was to me to run into him now and then at the post office, as if he were our town's personal treasure, when of course he was everyone's.

Mike Bennett of Lilburn, GA

December 08, 2009

Uncle Mac was a pleasure to have in my life. We shared many good times and letters. Words can't explain the loss of this man but a smile when I remember anything with him in it warms my heart. I'll miss you dearly uncle Mac. Thanks for being in my life.

Bernadette C. Waystack of Harwich Port, MA

December 08, 2009

Karen, as I already said to you, Mac was a rare and special individual. I feel very privileged and grateful to have had the chance to know him during the 5 summers I worked with you at Underground Art Gallery. Richard and I send our love,prayers and thoughts to you and the entire family at this difficult time. Much love, Bern

John & Peach Button of Moorestown, NJ; Brewster, MA

December 08, 2009

What an incredible legacy Mac has left! We have had the dual pleasure of enjoying his architecture in our hometown and sharing some time in Brewster, MA where we have our summer home. In fact, in Mac's honor, our library has put up an exhibit this week including his original model for the complex and many of his publications. Karen, you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. We'll look forward to seeing you at the "store" in the near future and sharing some thoughts in person. We hope you find genuine solace in the fact that your husband was loved and respected by so many. Our love to you and your family. John and Peach

Don Stoltenberg and Ken Swallow of Brewster MA

December 08, 2009

Mac Wells was a gentle giant of a man, both in his professional life and personal life. He was and should remain an inspiration to each and every one of us who respect and cherish our environment and the love of the land. Our deepest sympathies to Karen,and to to his family and friends.
Mac is at peace but will indeed be missed.

Yin Yang
Douglas Steele of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

December 08, 2009

Dear Sam,
What a sad thing to hear about your father's passing. I'm so sorry for your loss.
I had been holding in my heart for a long time the hope that your father would again rise up and save the world for us. But we still have his wonderful example about how to live in harmony with this crazy planet. Hopefully something good can come from that. Take care.

Joanne Pizzo of Philadelphia, PA

December 08, 2009

I am an architect. I grew up in Cherry Hill in the 70's and 80's and used and studied at Mr. Wells's library. I also rode by his former office every day on my way to high school. When I was a freshman in architecture school, my father bought me a book about Mr. Wells's architecture. We both sdmired the library. He was a man ahead of his time.

Jan Murray of S. Dennis, Massachusetts

December 08, 2009

Karen: I am so sorry to learn of your loss and will stop by and see you soon.

Joshua D. Johnson of Philadelphia, PA

December 08, 2009

Mac was easily one of the best Architects ever. His ideas were well tauted and rarely followed. As with the greatest of men it is most likely in death that he will be revered and the tenets of his life followed.
My Condolences,


Steven Cuneo of Marlton, NJ

December 08, 2009

I met MAC on jury duty back in the 70s when he lived in South Jersey. He taught me to knit. I was in College at the time. I lost track of him pretty much until I thought of him last year, wrote him a note, he wrote back and he sent me a couple of books. Although our lives only intercepted briefly I know the world is a much better place because of him. He will be missed.

Laurel Labdon of Brewster

December 08, 2009

Dear Karen,

All of the Labdons are mourning the loss of Mac...but know it can't compare to your loss. We have so many fond memories of you and Mac and are celebrating them. Please call on us if you need anything!

All of our love and sympathy,
Laurel, Jane & Bob

Richard Zea of Philadelphia, PA

December 08, 2009

I was a parentless, thirteen year-old foster-child who'd recently left the Camden Home for Children when I met Mac. I loved integral architecture and, having read all of F.L. Wright's work, sought my own apprenticeship with Mac when he was still buliding his underground office in Cherry Hill. Instead of laughing at my request, he hired me; all of the hollow walkway stones, gravel and large planters there were laid in place by me alone, and while I had other chores, he took the time to teach me how to draw and offered me a scholarship at Georgia Tech. I didn't stay in school then because I drifted from foster home to foster home and ran away for long periods, but I did attend architecture school elsewhere for a year, garnered 2 B.A.s, and attended law school due in part to his encouraging and paternal demeanor. I always held him in the greatest esteem and I was deeply saddened by his passing, but again he teaches us this his final lesson: you can have the life you dream of if you follow your inner voice and politely but resolutely ignore your detractors.

John Moran of Scawby, United Kingdom

December 08, 2009

I have had the honour and pleasure of knowing Mac for over 20 years, exchanging irregular letters over all that time.

His letters say it all - they are a cross-section of the man we all know and love.

I have two box files bulging with his eclectic writings, liberally sprinkled with delightful sketches and water colours. Many of them are written on the backs of letters I wrote to him, scraps of paper, brown wrapping paper, utility bills, and magazine articles … all personifying his innate greenness – recycle everything.

He would reply in the margins of my letters to him till I managed a 5mm margin all round and filled both sides of the page tightly.

His next letter was on a utility bill …

When I met Mac at The Underground Art Gallery he was one of those rare people who have that `at peace with the World' aura about them. The only other person I have met like that was a Buddhist monk in his temple. Thinking about it … Mac was in his very own temple – an underground structure extolling the virtues he has preached about for most of his life.

His inner peace remains with me to this day and I can only hope to achieve that personal level of contentment one day.

Mac was a remarkable man who led a remarkable life aided by his remarkable wife Karen. The best we can do is spread the word about his dreams and ideals.

Rest in peace Mac.

Herman DeJong of Gladwyne, Pennsylvania

December 08, 2009

Mac was my inspiration for decades and will be forever in my thoughts.
He is the true originator of vegetative roofs and earth bermed buildings. Mac will always be around when I ponder a design challenge.
..WWMD.......What Would Mac Design.. He was "Verdant" all the way,
Thanks Mac

Rob of Perkasie, PA

December 08, 2009

I never got to meet Mac in life, but have been inspired by his work for a long time. A true visionary, we can only hope that our work can live up to the possibilities that he could clearly see.

Wendy Mathias of Miami, FL

December 07, 2009

I exchanged letters irregularly over the years with Mac, mostly a few years back when I called Mac out of the blue to ask if I could build him a web site.

Mac had a great gift of correspondence. Each letter he sent felt like an unmerited treasure. His warmth and openness were compelling, prompting me to step outside my comfort zone and start writing.

Although I am notorious among my family and friends for being a terribly lax correspondent, letting years go by with nary a word, I eagerly awaited Mac's letters so that I could immediately send him a reply.
Alas, my old habits kicked in after awhile and I regret I didn't write him more often in recent years.

I have fond memories of Mac's humor, self-deprecating wit, inventiveness, generosity, and creativity to "have the last word": Mac and I held opposite perspectives on many
aspects of life, and after I wrote that I was sure we could find some common ground, Mac sent me a baggie of dirt--common ground--to fulfill that promise.

His contributions were beyond his gifted and inspiring architectural designs. His greatest gifts were his humanity, humor, integrity, and friendship. He will
be missed, but not forgotten.


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John R. Stasny Sr. of Magnolia, NJ

December 06, 2009

I was always impressed with Mr. Wells' philosophy on building. I loved going past his home on Cuthbert Road and North Park Drive in Pennsauken. I was moved when I read his obituary in the Courier-Post this morning. Mr. Wells has made an impact on all of us. He was a genius may he rest in peace. Semper Fi Malcom.

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