Sources of Inspiration...

This fall I’ve had a few opportunities to travel outside of the Bay. There’s nothing like getting out of the daily routine to rediscover inspiration all around you in big ways and in more subtle moments.  But there’s also something great about coming home with fresh eyes and noticing all over again the inspiration right outside of your own back door.High-LineA sunny Sunday afternoon brings locals and tourists alike to activate New York City’s High Line.
meridaColonial Mérida Cathedral, circa 1598. A collage of traditional “seconds” tiles in a courtyard house, Yucatán, Mexico.

Cali_Ansel   Then, in a sidewalk of Baltimore’s Butcher’s hill I’m reminded of home by someone’s tiny tribute to California.  It’s true, we have a wealth of inspiration right here in California, from the peaks memorialized in Ansel Adams’ photography to the view from my deck:  above, the craggy tops of the Ritters Range, Ansel Adams wilderness, and below a view of downtown Oakland across Lake Merritt.
It’s good to be home. -Bridgett

Architects at Work: The Feldman Office Renovation...

Though we moved into our new office in April, we’ve been reluctant to post photos until everything is ‘just right’.  Well, 9 months later, we’re ready to deliver.  Originally, the suite was divided into several smaller offices and storage areas, and our first big design move was to open up the space to the north facing wall of windows and to refinish the concrete floors.  Two spaces – the conference room and the printer/storage rooms – are defined by a simple board cladding stained black while the rest of the walls and surfaces are painted light. The reception desk is clad to match the black stained panels.


A favorite space is the conference room with sliding glass and steel panels and an oversized conference table which we can all fit around for lunch, seminars or dice games.  The kitchen was ordered from IKEA and ‘dressed up’ with a couple of simple design moves.  As many in our office bike to work, we found a tension bike rack that allows us to stack two bikes on each rack in the hallway.  We also worked with well-known artist Catherine Wagner to select a few of her photographs for the new space and emerging artist Meghan Urback who we commissioned to create two unique pieces for us.  While we miss the diversity around SOMA, we enjoy having more elbow room, lots of light and extra desks for interns and graphics.




Special thanks for helping us settle in:

Tom Kessenich, General Contractor

Kyle Mortz, Art of Construction

Steve Nichols, Mueller Nichols

Jay Bakaler, MetroEighteen

Rocket Science Consulting

Phil Tiffin, 522 Industries

Aaron Robinson, Aaron Robinson Cabinets & Design

Manuel Hidalgo, Commercial Woodworking

Christopher Naefke Cabinets

Light Waves Imaging

Winter 2012 Newsletter...

This fall finds Feldman Architecture staff cozying up in our new digs at Levi’s Plaza and delving into some amazing projects.  Our office move and remodel is nearing completion, as complete as a project can be within the design profession!  We’ve received artwork from Catherine Wagner and Meghan Urback, and we’re looking forward to a few final pieces of artwork and furniture.

In the past few months, our social media presence continues to spread, bolstered by a Q&A session on “The Architect Is In” by Remodelista which featured the Old Bernal Remodel with Jonathan revealing details about the design of the project throughout a weekend in August.  We were also fortunate to be featured on with an article discussing the increasingly popular residential green roof.
In print, Elle Décor featured the Mill Valley Cabins in an article about yoga rooms.  Feldman Architecture’s Pacific Heights Townhouse turned up in the recently released 21st Century Architecture: Designer Houses by Mark Clearly, and the Caterpillar House is featured in Passive Houses: Energy Efficient Homes by Chris van Uffelen.

Last month, Jonathan presented an introductory architecture class to technology and media leaders entitled ‘Cool or Craptastic.’  We enjoyed bombarding Jonathan with our thoughts on cool and craptastic buildings – not that architects have opinions!

Most recently, we learned that the eco+historical Vistorian Update here in San Francisco and a collaboration with eco+historical earned LEED Platinum status. And just this month, we completed photography of the Forest Hills remodel (image above).

We continue to grow and have exciting additions in our staff.  This summer, we gladly welcomed Caroline Arpa and Nick Riker to our team – check out their bios on our staff pages.  And we are very pleased to share that Lindsey, Travis, and Lucie Theobald welcomed Elle Tamsin to their family on August 16th. We’re wishing Lindsey the best in her 4 month leave with plenty of girl time!

Sustainable Sidebar: Alternative Wall Systems...

From alternative structural material to hanging gardens, there are lots of different ways to go green with your walls. There are many ways to make sustainable materials work to your advantage, as this project by students at the Rural Studio illustrates. They used tires filled with soil, then covered them in stucco to create the base of this beautiful chapel in Sawyerville, Alabama.


Mid-Century Modern...

I recently spent a long weekend in Palm Springs that included an architecture tour guided by Michael Stern, the author of Julius Shulman: Palm Springs. The tour was a great way to experience homes by Richard Neutra, John Lautner, Donald Wexler, Albert Frey and other well-known mid-century architects. These homes represent many of the same principles that guide residential architecture today including a strong visual connection to the outdoors, simplicity of form, honesty of materials and responsiveness to place.


Parker Hotel ….

Michael Stern ….

Living room fire pit, William Cody

Pre-fabricated kitchen in site built home, Donald Wexler

Kaufman House, Richard Neutra


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 19thcentury. 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

Thinking Beyond LEED at SXSW Eco...

Blair McCary addresses the crowd at SXSW Eco. Bill Reed and Paula Vaughan are seated.

This post was originally published at and has been reprinted with permission.

By Addie Broyles

Bill Reed helped develop the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, but at a panel during the South by Southwest Eco conference, he explains why it’s time to move on.

“LEED is a great starting point. It’s the reason we’re able to be in this room and have a common language,” he says. “But it was never meant to be used as a measuring stick.” Reed, along with Atlanta-based architect Paula Vaughan and Vancouver engineer Blair McCarry, both of Perkins + Will, argue for a more holistic approach to “sustainable design” in a panel called “Beyond LEED: Living Buildings and the 2030 Challenge” at SXSW Eco, an offshoot of the sprawling Austin festival that takes place every March. (more…)


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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.

On Valencia between 14th and 15th outside Four Barrel, a parklet with bike storage by Boor Bridges Architecture.
Click here to check out a map of all parklets in SF.

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

Neutra VDL House...

Background: Richard & Dionne Neutra built this house in 1937 after receiving funding from Van Der Leuwen, for whom the house is named.  Richard and his son Dion ran their firm out of the back of the house & often held events in the front. After a fire in 1963, Dion, rebuilt the structure, this time with the benefit of having lived there for many years and with careful attention to the climactic forces.

50 years after the renovation, the house is still very inspirational.  The experience of being in the house is powerful and conveys much more than the images.  The strongest impression is how well the Neutras blurred the distinction between outdoor and indoor.  The breezeway on the second floor opens up entirely on both sides, and while covered overhead, feels like being in a tree house.  Through screens and louvers, the Neutras clearly mastered control of the local air currents and solar aspect, to provide maximum ventilation and light control in all areas of the house.

Also very evident is the craft and care in details to support the mundane, perfunctory functions of life–the corner cabinet between kitchen and dining, the flush wood panel doors at the bedrooms, and the built in toothbrush/cup holder at the vanity. And the lovely vintage tiles showcase the craft of materials from the time.


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