On Saturday, April 28th a crew from Feldman Architecture spent the day volunteering with Rebuilding Together San Francisco. Joining Wells Fargo and Hanson Bridgett, our team of 60+ volunteers helped to renovate the house of Mrs. A who has been there since 1944. Under the great leadership of three general contractors, we reframed an outdoor deck, primed and painted the interior rooms, cleared a large backyard of weeds, replaced bathroom and kitchen appliances, and even created a new home and play area for two large Rottweiler dogs! All in a day’s work!
Rebuilding Together is a non-profit organization that connects volunteers with construction projects focusing on the rejuvenation of communities. With projects ranging from single family homes to non-profit organizations and school facilities, the San Francisco chapter has helped over 1,000 houses and 250 facilities since its inception in 1989.
Feldman Architecture had a great time lending a helping hand and look forward to participating in the future! – Kevin Barden
Feldman Architecture Winter 2012 Newsletter
Caterpillar House Takes California Home + Design Award
Best Residential Architecture (Less than 3,000sf)
On February 1st, we attended the California Home + Design gala where the Caterpillar House picked up an award for residential design. We also learned in January that Caterpillar earned an award for Excellence in Design from the AIA Monterey Bay and was nominated as an Honoree in the Best of Year ceremonies by Interior Design. A hearty congratulation to the many team members who helped realize this stunning, LEED Platinum home. Click the image above to visit the California Home + Design Website for the full article.
An Office on the Move
After March 25th, we will be settling into a new office near Levy Plaza at 1005 Sansome St., Suite 240, San Francisco. While we’ll miss our lively digs in SOMA and the availability of Sight Glass coffee, we’re excited to more than double the size of our space which will feature, a light-filled conference room, a working area with lots of samples, excellent artwork and all your favorite people. We can't wait to show you around!
New Associate and New Addition
We're pleased to announce the promotion of Tai Ikegami to the position of Associate with the firm. Joining Feldman back in 2005, Tai has led several amazing, award-winning projects and helped steward the firm in its growth. On February 20th 2012, Tai, Yuchin and Haruki welcomed a little boy into their family, Hayato Ikegami. Congratulations to Tai and family!
Near my desk I display a small collection of found natural objects from places that inspire me. These objects include a small piece of white marble, a bit of basalt, a stick bleached from the sun and redwood bark ground smooth by the waves. I also have a quote by Rudolph Schindler, an early California modernist architect I admire:
Schindler describes one of his projects as fulfilling: “the basic requirements for a camper’s shelter: a protected back, an open front, a fireplace, and a roof.”
Though many of Feldman Architecture’s projects are by necessity more complex than that, I’ve found that the most successful spaces we create have the simplicity in forms, materials and details found in a “camper’s shelter”. To me this nature-inspired minimalism facilitates an appreciation for both the built and the natural world. - Brett
Feldman's Must Read List
‘Tis the season for final exams and design reviews, and in this spirit, we’ve collected a list of favorite books from studies past and present. Anyone who enjoys reading about the built and natural environment would enjoy them.
At Home, by Bill Bryson Matt thinks this book is brilliant! It’s a history of domestic life over the last 150 years; if you’ve ever wondered how incredibly difficult life was for us before electricity, dining rooms, silverware, grocery stores, and even indoor plumbing, read this book. Next time you flush the toilet or open the refrigerator for a snack, you’ll think about just how ‘easy’ home life is here in the 21st century. Enjoy!
Glen Murcutt, by Francoise Fromonot Elaine loves how well Murcutt integrates basic environmental factors (like light, heat, water) into his architecture. This book provides detailed drawings, capturing how he translates those basic elements into architecture.
Learning from Las Vegas, by Venturi, Scott Brown & Izenour Even if you are not a disciple of Post-Modern art and architecture, the thesis of Learning from Las Vegas breaks down the distinctions between high and low. Hannah enjoys this book’s wit and humor as the authors demonstrate how much we can learn from what has been traditionally deemed “low”. And what’s not to love about a decorated duck?
Masters of Light, by Henry Plummer Bridgett finds this book both visually and intellectually inspiring, as it looks at changing thoughts on light across disciplines and at case studies of architecture that are composed of light and shadow.
In Praise of Shadows, by Jun’ichiro Tanizaki Although we do still prefer our cleanly toilets, we are all inspired to “immerse ourselves in the darkness and discoverits own particular beauty…”
Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers, by Leonard Koren Modernism is cool, wabi-sabi is warm.Modernism romanticizes technology, wabi-sabi romanticizes nature. Wabi-sabi is the beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is a beauty of things modest and humble.
The Eyes of the Skin, by Juhani Pallasmaa “The body knows and remembers. Architectural meaning derives from archaic responses and reactions remembered by the body and the senses.”
The Poetics of Space, by Gaston Bachelard" When the intellectual realm, the realm of ideas, is in balance with the experiential realm, the realm of phenomena, form is animated with meaning. In this balance, architecture has both intellectual and physical intensity, with the potential to touch mind, eye, and soul."
Thinking Architecture, by Peter Zumthor
“Associative, wild, free, ordered and systematic thinking in images, in architectural, spatial, colorful and sensuous pictures – that is my favorite definition of design.”
The Tao of Architecture, by Amos Ih Tiao Chang This is a light read that Tai found to be a good counterpoint to the more cerebral texts required in his university days, when he was more interested in phenomenology than highly theoretical studies in architecture.
Invisible Cities, by Italo Calvino
Informal, by Cecil Balmond
The Death and Life of Great American Cities, by Jane Jacobs A must read for several of us in the office and for those who love the city. Jane Jacobs brought to life the concept of the “eyes on the street” which can be seen in action in amazing, transformative programs throughout the US, including Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children’s Zone.
Wedding in Sea Ranch
Three summers ago, I stopped at The Sea Ranch on my way to San Francisco to visit my future husband. I sketched the small chapel and wondered if and when I got married, if I could limit my guest list to the 8-10 people that could be seated in the chapel.
When the time came, as an architect-and-bride-to-be, I did my due diligence researching wedding venues, but my husband to be had a feeling The Sea Ranch Lodge would be the place. What The Sea Ranch offered was not only Modern Architecture (yes, capitalized) blending with a beautiful landscape – but authenticity. When I took my fiancé to visit, we were reminded of our childhood homes in different ways and felt calm and connected to nature.
Our reactions to this place were no accident. The Sea Ranch was designed as a vacation community in the 1960-1970’s by the landscape architect Lawrence Halprin and several architects including William Turnbull, Jr., Joseph Esherick, and Charles Moore. The lodge, community buildings and 10 miles of vacation homes have been built since in strict accordance to an architectural style based on local barns that date to the late 19th century. There is something very unique and effective about the results.
I was unable to limit my guest list to fit into the chapel I had sketched years before - the one dramatic exception to the design guidelines. Instead, family, friends and friends who are also co-workers filled a tent flanked on two sides by the lodge’s guest rooms and wood walk ways. It rained, which was wonderful. Suddenly, everything was spontaneous and somehow better than what I had meticulously planned. Photos occurred in all the right places and a glowing sunset drew a crowd out of the tent just before dessert. - Camille
Breathing Life into City Streets
What could be more green, (and more fun) than a lively city street that makes walking and biking more enjoyable than driving?
Throughout San Francisco, locals and visitors are enjoying a new urban intervention: the parking-space-sized public lounge spaces or ‘parklet’. The program is part of San Francisco’s Pavement to Parks program that was launched in 2009 and it’s been a huge success.
City residents began looking for ways to reclaim pavement as car-free public space and in 2005, thanks to the designers at Rebar, the movement got its first moment of success with Park(ing) Day. Since then the movement has spread beyond San Francisco to cities across the globe. (Did you know that Park(ing) Day is now an international event with over 150 cities participating? Nice job San Francisco!)
Another conceptual project for the Bay Area proposes repurposing the 2.2 miles of highway of the East Span Bay Bridge in anticipation of the opening of the new bridge in 2013. Fletcher Studio proposes the radical retrofit of the bridge to harvest water, wind and sun to cool a data server farm on the lower deck and to water and grow a medicinal marijuana farm on the upper deck. The two high grossing, non-public uses would generate enough income to pay off the retrofit expense within one year and then continue to generate income for public use throughout the Bay Area.
From miles long to the size of a bench; both temporary and permanent, other cities are finding their own way to reclaim their streets. Here are a few of our favorites:
The Highline Project, New York, New York by Diller Scofidio + Renfro with James Corner’s Field Operations allows pedestrians to walk 1.45 miles without stopping for a single car.
Crater Lake by 24° Studio in Kobe, Japan was developed to integrate leisure and play space into the cityscape.
The ‘Minhocão’ (giant worm) highway in Sao Paulo is closed to traffic on Sundays, becoming a pedestrian-only recreational space. - Bridgett
The Great Triumvirate: Architecture, Beer and Climbing
The Feldman team set out Friday on a field trip of epic proportions: an overnight excursion to the Pinnacles National Monument. Along the way was a stop at the site of one of our projects under construction (see On the Boards: Walnut Farm Retreat) to have dinner and take in the sunset. The following day everyone explore the park at their own pace – hiking, rock climbing and pool-side. - Bridgett (aka Chairwoman of Feldman Social Committee '11)
DAY ONE - Site Visit and BBQ at Walnut Farm Retreat
DAY TWO - Pinnacles
The Dirt on Airing your Laundry
An easy way to save energy this summer is by foregoing your dryer and using a clothesline to air dry laundry. In the heat of summer, I can’t bear to use my dryer, so I picked up a simple, retractable clothesline from my local hardware store. I am surprised how much I enjoy using my clothesline! There is something romantic about seeing a line of clothes fluttering in the wind. And sun-dried sheets on a freshly made bed is heaven! Of course, being a designer, I couldn’t help search for more design-y clothes-drying products. - Lindsey
Here are my favorites:
Above Left: The Alberto clothesline from Fabrica. Each “tree” is about 6’ tall. Center: Vintage clothespins are so cool looking. They are easy to find online too, this image is from a shop on Etsy. Above Right: For those who don’t have the luxury of outdoor space for air-drying, uncommongoods offers an easy mount indoor clothesline. Below Left: There are even cute ways to store clothespins. You easily could make your own, but this one is from uncommongoods.com. Below Right: I love this idea. Start them young!
Greenways: Feldman and Clients Get Around Town
Most of Feldman Architecture’s clients appreciate the importance of sustainably built homes and ask us to help them make choices that use materials wisely and reduce energy use. We know that buildings consume almost half of all fossil fuels burned in the United States, but not surprisingly, transportation consumes the next largest percentage of fossil fuels.
The team here at Feldman Architecture does its part to reduce carbon emissions by making smart choices in the buildings we design and how we commute to work. With few exceptions we all regularly bike, walk, take public transportation, or ride a scooter to our offices in SOMA. One of us even recently started taking a ferry that runs on bio-diesel. Since 50% of our office does not own a car, we visit job sites using City Car Share or Zip Car whenever possible.
We bring this same awareness of alternative transportation issues to our projects. Four projects under construction will offer dedicated 240 volt outlets with upgraded electrical panels for owners’ future electric cars. Several of our completed projects generate sufficient electricity through photo-voltaic panels to charge these vehicles. A project site in Santa Cruz was specifically chosen for its proximity to the beach, schools, transit and shopping. Though this particular client currently lives in Ohio, he has already bought a bike to avoid renting a car on his frequent site visits. For another project under construction, the owners will enter their home - frequently sweaty and muddy - directly through a large bike storage room. These clients have gotten creative with their bikes – see the photos below!
All of these efforts use energy wisely and conserve resources, but they’re also a great way to travel around the City and appreciate the sights. - Brett
Object Lessons: Design across Disciplines
Recently, we undertook a re-branding of our graphic identity at Feldman Architecture, a process led by graphic designer Anjel Van Slyke. Sitting in the seat of client and being guided through the design process by Anjel gave us a chance to reflect on our own process. Like a short architectural project, the trajectory of the graphic design followed a familiar path, including outlining a scope, budget and schedule; gathering research, precedents, and materials; brainstorming; refining the details; and production/construction.
Recently while watching the documentary, Objectified, which chronicles several Industrial Designers and major corporations known for design, I was struck by a section of the film in which Dieter Rams, Former Design Director of Braun, brings to light his philosophy on good design. Herr Rams eschews the idea that a designer is an artist, noting that industrial designers spend much of their time working with business people, engineers and clients. Herr Rams goes on to elaborate on the values of good design:
Good design should be innovative. Good design should make a product useful. Good design is aesthetic design. Good design will make a product understandable. Good design is honest. Good design is unobtrusive. Good design is long-lived. Good design is consistent in every detail. Good design is environmentally friendly. Last but not least, good design is as little design as possible.
Undergoing the re-brand process had our team elucidating the principles we stand for and thinking inspirationally about the image we wish to publicly project. Dieter Rams ‘manifesto’ is a great reminder of some of the goals we tend towards for our architectural projects. But one could argue, contrary to his statement that designers are not artists, that there is actually an art to the decisions which are made and lead to what appears to be as little design as possible. Simply put – this is hard to do simply.
We were immediately drawn to the logo you see now on our website, but we were even more fascinated as Angel described where she had chosen to tip the edges of the letters and why certain sketches were not eliminated. She led us through her sketchbook of cast-aways and final cuts. In the end, we feel we have an amazing fit to our firm’s work with a simple elegance that does not appear fussy or labored over, but expresses lots of ideas and complexity with minimal moves. - Hannah