With 2020 just days away, it’s a good time to reflect on our big picture sustainability objectives as a firm, and acknowledge all that we have accomplished over the past year- keeping in mind our goal to be Carbon Neutral by 2030.
This year, our goal was to pass our Title 24 Energy models by a minimum of 10%. In 2019, we averaged a 13% compliance margin across our reporting portfolio.
Translating this information into our 2030 reporting and looking through the lens of the EUI (Energy Use Intensity) of our project portfolio, in 2019 we averaged a 68% reduction from baseline energy use. Although this did not meet the 2030 goal of a 70% reduction, we did improve by 4% over our 2018 reporting portfolio. Each year, we are moving closer and closer to the baseline target, which is rising to 80% in 2020.
This year, we also created an internal sustainability checklist to track project goals across a variety of phases. Our team is working on integrating conversations early on in the design process, outlining sustainability goals and ways to improve our building’s energy and thermal performance. We now use Sefaira, an energy tracking and modeling software, to perform energy and lighting studies for each of our projects – bringing energy performance into the design process at the project’s conception.
Furthermore, we now look at our projects in terms of their Carbon footprint, both operationally and embodied. Thinking more holistically about our project’s CO2 footprint, instead of just their EUI, allows us to weigh the gas and electric usage differently in each of our projects, giving us a better sense of how close we are to our 2030 Carbon Neutral goal. Stay tuned for an update on our carbon metrics in the first quarter of 2020!
At the end of October, the entire Feldman Architecture team was lucky enough to head down to Asilomar, a beautiful conference ground, hotel, and coastal architectural wonder (designed by Julia Morgan) for three days of design, lectures, workshops, and beach-side bonding at the Monterey Design Conference– one of the most highly respected and attended biennial architecture and design conferences in the US.
The conference hosted a dynamic and engaging list of speakers. Some FA favorites included Alberto Kalach from Kalach & Taller de Arquitectura X who discussed his beautiful work in Mexico City, as well as his take on the future of urban planning, and on the other side of the spectrum, Gregg Pasquarelli from SHoP, with some incredible insights on his firm’s innovative large scale commercial work at Barclays Center and Uber headquarters. The diversity of presenters, topics, and approaches to architecture was incredible, and our designers left every session conspiring about new ideas and exciting takeaways, looking forward to applying new perspectives to our future work.
Smaller breakout sessions on topics like sound in architecture, public art, and the 2030 Challenge also provided for conversation and networking – we were able to connect with old friends and make some new from all over the world.
The grounds were tranquil and relaxing- and our team was able to take advantage of our beach-side locale by having an impromptu happy hour on the beach, and visiting a local breweries after the daily sessions ended.
While in the area, the entire team toured some favorite Feldman Architecture projects- including Butterfly House and House Ocho (the first home Jonathan Feldman ever designed). And to close out the weekend, on Sunday afternoon a small group from FA hosted a modern home tour – in which conference goers were bused into the beautiful Santa Lucia Preserve to visit Ranch OH, as well as two other stunning homes designed by Aidlin Darling and Piechota Architects. The tour ended up being a mini vacation for all involved- with some of the FA staff taking a dip in the Ranch OH pool!
Feldman Architecture was proud to be one of the only firms that sent all of their employees the conference, exposing designers and staff of every level to the newest and best ideas from the brightest in our industry. The team left with a shared sense of gratitude for our firm- and a feeling of rejuvenation and excitement to get back to work.
Jeff Jungsten started his career in construction right across the street from his current office – as a student at Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, California Jeff worked as an after school laborer at nearby construction sites. He remembers discovering innovative solutions to construction obstacles and finding joy in suggesting shortcuts to his bosses, “efficient solutions born out of teenage boy laziness” Jungsten recounted. Realizing his love for building, and what he would later recognized as an affinity for sustainable, efficient construction processes, he delved deeper into his expertise.
As a student at Chico State, Jungsten was connected to a job by his father (a professional in the Audio Visual industry) at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics opening and closing ceremonies- constructing a display that had to be easily, efficiently, and aesthetically constructed and destructed. “This was my first experience in a ‘no fail environment’, something that I have applied to all jobs since then.” From the Olympics, to renovating classic San Francisco Victorians- Jeff quickly became an expert in the California building scene, and joined up with Caletti Construction in 1994. In 2004 Jeff became a partner and Caletti Jungsten Construction was born, and later, in 2015 John Caletti retired and Jungsten Construction was on their way.
Today, Jungsten Construction is Marin’s go-to when looking for best practice in sustainable construction. Jeff has cultivated a unique business model- building a collaborative, trusting, and honest environment from the very beginning of each project, bringing together teams based on sites and trusting relationships, as opposed to transactional, competitive jobs that plague the current industry. Jungsten sees himself as both an advocate for the client and architect, facilitating relationships and finding the best, most sustainable outcome for each project site, team, and budget. His philosophy is that the most efficient, and therefore, more sustainable way to approach a project is with the right team from the very beginning- which also provides the highest value of work and quality to clients.
FA first engaged with Jungsten Construction on what is now one of our favorite projects, Sonoma Wine Country 1, in which our teams pushed each other and the final design to the next level. This Fall, FA has two projects in the works with the Jungsten team– which Jeff pulled us into. “One of our clients called me and said they wanted a house that seamlessly fit into their breathtaking site, and I immediately thought of Butterfly House and some of the other work in the Santa Lucia Preserve, and FA was my first call and my only call. Their humility, their design, and their expertise truly made them my first choice, along with their seamless design connecting site and structure.”
Working with Jeff and the Jungsten Construction team is a pleasure because of the commitment to their collaborators and their clients. Jeff works twice as hard to make our job and the client’s lives easier- how can we say no to that?
his July, the FA team visited the recently completed Surf House, which went through an epic journey with the Santa Cruz coastal commission due to its close proximity to ocean (the house is only 50 feet from some of CA’s best waves). A photo shoot with Commune Design, the interior designers, follows this October, more to come!
Q: Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Irvine, California where I spent pretty much all of my time outdoors. During the summer time it was the neighborhood swim team and bike tag and during the winter time it was soccer and baseball team. I loved playing sports- and the year round sun allowed me to play as many as possible – and it’s probably the thing I miss most about home. When I got to high school, I decided to focus on soccer competitively, but I picked up surfing – I couldn’t stay out of the water completely. For 4 years, my neighbors and I spent the weekends at surf camps, and the weeknights at the neighborhood watering hole (boba joint). The only other home I had growing up was the farmhouse my mom and her siblings grew up in. Every summer for a couple of weeks we visited the family vineyard making homemade lasagna and picking grapes, my favorite family tradition.
Q: Where did you go to school?
I moved up to the Bay Area when I started at Berkeley. I studied Economics, focused on Environmental Policy and Renewable Energy. I’ve always been super passionate about the environment and loved math- so the program ended up being the perfect fit.
Q: What was your favorite class in college?
I took a lot of amazing classes that taught me about Environmental and Energy Economics, but I was really excited to have room to take Italian as an elective. My extended family is Italian, and I’ve always wanted to become fluent in another language.
Q: Tell me about your family.
Some of my favorite family memories are the countless road trips we took while growing up. Every year we went skiing at Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort. My two sisters and I got very close on these long car rides. My mom used to take us on RV trips through America’s national parks, I love how adventurous my family is when it comes to exploring new places. I was lucky enough to follow my older sister, Giortia, to Berkeley and we spent 2 years there together before she graduated and moved to San Francisco, where she now works at Lyft. My younger sister, Helena, started her second year at CalPoly Slo where she’s studying Mechanical Engineering.
Q: What is the most interesting aspect of architecture to you?
My favorite aspect of architecture is how quickly and easily it takes you to a different time period. No matter where I go, the thing that influences my experience the most is the architecture of my surroundings. I can picture what society was like at the time when a building was designed, a time when people looked up at it and considered it contemporary. Working at a modern architecture firm makes me so much more aware of architecture’s evolving nature and my interest in design.
Q: How long have you worked at FA?
I just passed the 2 month mark!
Q: What makes our office unique?
I think our office is unique in that everyone is so different. Our workforce has a noticeable diversity of background and thought, yet at the same time everyone clicks to form a larger identity that is Feldman Architecture.
Q: What’s your favorite part about coming to work?
My favorite part about coming to work is being around so many motivated people. Everyone at Feldman is here because they love what they are doing and understand that it’s important. This group mentality is a really great environment to be in every day and is what keeps our office culture fresh.
Q: What is the last show you binge watched?
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – one of my new favorites!
Q: Do you have any fun plans coming up?
Saving up to do some traveling! I haven’t been, but I know my next destination is South America.
“He is one of the most knowledgeable clients we have ever had” commented Steven Stept, lead architect of Slot House, a sleek modern home perched among the trees of Los Altos Hills. The clients now live there full time with their daughter, soaking up the South Bay heat, and continuing to immerse themselves in the surrounding natural beauty- as well as the burgeoning Los Altos Hills design scene.
The homeowners, now involved in tech and finance worlds, are both long time modern architecture aficionados. Hailing from Minnesota, these home tour and design savants spent weekends in their early twenties attending the Twin Cities Parade of Homes. “It’s such a wonderful event, showcasing projects of every size, as well as price points; it allowed every member of the community to tour their dream home, no matter the price” she commented.
“I would ride my bike down to construction sites near my house, park across the street, eat my lunch, and watch them build a home” he remembers of his childhood, entranced by the process of creating something from a sketch, an idea. Today, the family regularly attends home tours in the area, and has featured their own home in well-attended tours and events.
I was lucky enough to get a personal tour lead by the home owners themselves, and their loving fluff of a dog, Charlie. “The name the architects chose, Slot House, was functional, but we usually refer to our home as ‘Charlie’s Place’, so many factors brought him into consideration.” The home has an abundance of outdoor yard space for the dog to play, forty foot sliding doors that open up onto a view of the surrounding hills, and tile floors to better accommodate slippery paws and claws.
“The most important part of the process, for me, was collaboration,” said the home owners, “Working with the interior designers, the landscape architects, and FA was so easy and successful because of a shared understanding, and an ease in communication and the sharing of ideas. Everyone valued our input, and we were all equals in the process.” This collaborative mindset shines through when experiencing the home, the design is a perfect blend of the homeowners design sensibilities, one favoring modern, white, and restrained palettes, and the other carving out cozy spaces for dark blue furnishings and suede.
The home, at its core, epitomizes the clients’ life dream- to one day have a self-designed house, to open it up to their community- to share and enjoy their love of architecture, and live amongst it every day.
To kick off a fun, productive, and creative summer, the team at Feldman Architecture was lucky enough to be invited into Reuben Margolin’s private studio in Emeryville, CA. Reuben, a truly gifted kinetic sculpture artist, is a longtime friend of FA, and even created a kinetic sculpture piece that’s featured in our Telegraph Hill house.
Reuben has been creating his fascinating, mathematic, ever-changing sculptures for the last twenty years, “seeking to combine the sensuousness of nature with the logic of math.” After studying English and Math at Harvard, and travelling and studying around the world, Reuben created his first series of kinetic sculptures, lovingly named the Caterpillars (which reminded us of our own work…). These enchanting creations made of thousands of pieces of wood, string, and pulleys, draw upon mathematical and natural inspiration to crawl along the floor; the piece is powered by physics, and some extra-large batteries. We watched one of his caterpillars (shown below) scooch along the floor of his warehouse, perplexing even our most seasoned architects with its complex design and artistic curvature.
From caterpillars, Reuben departed in an explosion of different artistic directions, drawing inspiration from the natural world around him, such as the sea and the wind. We asked countless questions and closely inspected and admired Reuben’s wave creations- beautiful dangling webs of string and wood that smoothly glide through complicated systems of thousands of pulleys. These structures, suspended in air, break away “from the stubbornness of the ground” and allow for a smoother motion and more possibility in terms of lateral movement.
While enjoying some beers and snacks in Reuben’s studio, Reuben patiently answered a steady line of questioning from our designers (and Tai’s kids) covering a range of topics: design, transportation, logistics, and artistic inspiration. Reuben described projects that hotels, offices, private homes, and even one dance company commissioned, outlining the sometimes comical task of commodifying his art.
We all left in a state of awe, deeply impressed by Reuben’s mathematical mind and artistic creativity- feeling inspired to bring some of what we learned into our own work (both conceptually and literally). Please find more of Reuben’s work here, and reach out if you have any questions about what you see, or would like to connect with him directly!
By Laura Knight
Recently a few of our design teams have begun utilizing a useful Revit tool known as BIM 360 for project collaboration. You may ask yourself, what is BIM 360?
This exciting and powerful software enables our architectural models to be accessed via a remote server, meaning consultants can access project files directly from their offices to incorporate their own work! In my previous studios I’ve personally used BIM 360 for large-scale commercial design to streamline coordination with structural engineers.
BIM 360 also has a companion application on Android and IOS, meaning team members and collaborators can access up-to-date plans and project documents anywhere, at any time.
How will this software be utilized by our firm in the future? As Feldman Architects inevitably leads and contributes to more commercial design projects, and to more residential projects outside our native San Francisco, BIM 360 will become a key tool in effective project coordination. Effective project management and beautiful design are born of powerful instruments!