As you may have noticed if you venture to our office, many of us enjoy listening to music while we work. Some people like the background noise, some of us like how different music can break up the day, and others use headphones as a “Do Not Disturb” sign. We thought it would be interesting to share what we’re all tuned into from time to time. This edition is for those times when we really need to hunker down and get stuff done. Choices ran the gamut from classical to pop to post-rock and beyond. So here it is, The Feldman Architecture Focus Mix:
Loud Pipes – Ratatat (Bridgett)
Angel – Massive Attack (Hannah)
Division – Moby (Caroline)
La Femme d’Argent – Air (Jonathan)
The Richest Man in Babylon – Thievery Corporation (Hannah)
Golden Arrow – Darkside (Nick)
Brill Bruisers – The New Pornographers (Daniel)
All Things Must Pass – George Harrison (Aaron)
Red Eyes – The War on Drugs (Daniel)
Everything In Its Right Place/Maiden Voyage – Robert Glasper (Tai)
Attaboy – Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile (Humbeen)
The Well-Tempered Clavier (Prelude and Fugue in E-Flat Major), performed by Glenn Gould – J.S. Bach (Kevin)
Some folks couldn’t narrow it down to one song, so here are a few Pandora stations and albums people often have playing:
Cat Power (Caroline)
M. Ward (Caroline)
Arcade Fire (Caroline)
Lana del Rey (Lindsey)
Franki Valli (Steven)
John Legend (Steven)
Floating Coffin – Thee Oh Sees (Jess)
23 – Blonde Redhead (Jess)
Check Your Head – Beastie Boys (Chris)
Restorations – Restorations (Ben)
Earlier this summer, I had the chance to visit Japan and traveled to many Zen Buddhist temples in Kyoto. Kyoto is located in an inland river valley and is surrounded on all sides by mountain ranges. Many of the temples I visited are situated on the outskirts of the city at the base of the mountains where the city ends and the forest begins making for an incredible contrast between urban and rural space. In a way, these temples are a transitory space with one foot in nature and the other in setting is perhaps best described in the Japanese concept of ma, which can mean blankness or distance. Ma is a transitory experiential concept; for example, it is the silence between sounds which gives shape to music.
The focal point of many of these temples is a garden with a large open space and meandering paths. The temples themselves surround these open spaces, which can consist of ponds or dry landscape gardens, or karesansui , and are highly manicured. While these gardens are essentially courtyard spaces, they are never seen in isolation from nature. Often, a view from the engawa, or veranda, of a temple will extend from the garden to the mountains or city beyond which demonstrates the concept of shakkei or borrowed scenery. The karesansui are so detailed that attention is paid to the scale and coloration of the millions of tiny white rocks and sculpted moss that resonate when seen against the fine backdrop of the trees or buildings beyond.
These gardens cultivate an appreciation of ma and therefore an awareness of one’s own consciousness. Like viewing a painting, they are meant to be viewed from afar and are physically inaccessible. Walking through the temple grounds, the emptiness of the gardens heightens one’s awareness of the physicality of the structures themselves and the details of construction in the same way the color blue when placed against the color red highlights the redness of red and vice versa. In this way, the ma of these gardens makes nature more natural and the cities more concrete.
World Cup fever is upon us – so we hope you are enjoying the ‘kick-off’ of summer as many of us are with the occasional office break to view the action and root on our favorite teams. Speaking of action – the firm had plenty of activity, exposure, and several new faces join us this past spring.
In April, the Butterfly House in the Santa Lucia Preserve was featured on the cover of Dwell Magazine. We are thankful for the beautiful coverage of the project with a wonderful story by Emily Thelin and fantastic photos by Joe Fletcher. To celebrate, the Feldman team hosted a party at the Barrel House in San Francisco, an amazing former speakeasy, with dinner and drinks by Dosa and music by Cure for Gravity.
We are excited to announce LEED Gold status has been achieved for the Salamander House in the LEED for Homes program. Congratulations to our Salamander clients and design team for embarking on this challenging but rewarding path to certification! Feldman Architecture has now managed its 5th LEED certification, 4 Platinum and 1 Gold, with several more homes currently in the USGBC’s system.
Upcoming this fall, as a part of the AIA San Francisco’s Architecture in the City festival in September, the Fitty Wun House will be featured on the AIA Home Tours as one of several homes opened to architecture aficionados to tour on the weekend of September 20-21st. This yearly event can sell out so don’t miss this opportunity for a fun-filled day of architectural adventure. Please visit the AIA website at www.aiasf.org/hometours for tickets.
Finally, we are excited to welcome 3 new staff members to the firm. Ben Welty, originally from South Carolina, brings several years of high-end residential experience and Jessica Gill, a recent graduate from RISD and Reed College hailing from across the Bay in Berkeley, are already busy working on a variety of new commissions. Bianca Mills joined as our new Office Manager and with several years of experience in architecture and related creative fields is a wonderful addition to our team. This summer, we are also hosting Pavan Vadgama from UC Berkeley who is completing a summer course on Professional Practice which includes working in our office. We also note that his FIFA bracket is perfect to date; he has picked all of the winners so far! To celebrate the new members of the firm, Brett Moyer hosted a party at his lovely remodeled Eichler home in Marin where everyone enjoyed the sun, drinks and delicious food while getting to know our new colleagues.
We look forward to working with many of you throughout 2014. Enjoy your summer!
Earlier this Spring I had the opportunity to travel to Brazil to take in firsthand the urban transportation infrastructure, social policies, and landscape qualities of Curitiba. While it lies off the beaten path for many tourists, there are a tremendous amount of lessons and insights that can be gleamed from the city and its history of sustainable design practices.
A common thread running through many the programs, infrastructure, and buildings is a keen eye for what already exists in the environment. As an example, the main public transportation system was directly influenced by historical roads that organized the city, one running north/south (from cattle herding) and one running east/west (from the ocean to the mountains). This in turn led to a linear axial organization of zoning and residential density along transportation corridors.
The park system of Curitiba also offers a window into this way of thinking, from both landscape and cultural perspectives. Some parks, such as Parque Barigui, respond to the need for flood control while others, such as Parque do Papa offer scenarios for resident immigrant populations to maintain connections to traditional ways of buildings and living.
In response to material use, several public buildings and much of the park infrastructure is built from salvaged telephone poles. A story told while visiting the Department for the Environment was given of how an individual one day called the Department wondering what could be done with an excess of wood telephone poles as new metal ones were being erected. It happened to be a time when the Department of the Environment was constructing and planning a campus of buildings for itself. Instead burning, incinerating, or discarding the telephone poles the Department used them to construct their buildings and park infrastructure.
In the current climate of sustainability awareness, Curitiba offers a wonderful window into synergies generated through the participation of landscape, material, culture, social, and transportation qualities of the built environment.
– Kevin Barden
I attended a four-day Zero Net Energy course co-sponsored by Solar Action Alliance and PG&E. Topics ranged from Home Energy Audits for existing homes to determining the best types of fuel sources to achieve Net Zero Energy on a new home.
Here are a few facts I learned that you might find useful for saving energy in your current home without having to open up any walls or replacing your mechanical system:
- In the market for a new appliance, LED replacement lamps, car or laptop? Check out TopTen USA for the most up to date information on which brand and model are actually achieving the highest ranks in energy and performance.
- Refrigerators with the freezer on top or bottom, (rather than vertically along the side) are more energy efficient.
- EnergyStar has never regulated clothes dryers. Most electric clothes dryers consume as much energy as a new fridge, washing machine, and dishwasher combined!
- What can you do? Gas powered clothes dryers use much less energy and innovations for electric dryers that use technology such as heat exchangers are in the works.
- Biggest “plug load” found in your home? The TV.
- While TVs have made some of the biggest improvements in energy consumption reduction, they have also gotten bigger and we own more of them per household, (proving that regulation does not need to hinder sales)
- The preset mode you have it set in can help save energy. For example, ‘Preset Cinema’ uses less than 125 watts of energy while ‘Preset Vivid’ and the ‘Default Retail Vivid’ usesover 250 watts.
- Idle electric loads average 36% of your electric bill. Do you often leave home and wonder if you left the lights on or the thermostat turned up?
- You can turn lamps and electronics off remotely, (even from your iPhone) with a simple wireless controller installed at the outlet: ByeBye Standby Wireless Remote Control Energy Saving Kit
- Control your lights remotely with wireless light switches: Belkin WeMo Light Switch
- Control your thermostat online: Nest Learning Thermostat and Honeywell Wi-Fi Programmable Touchscreen Thermostat.
Happy New Year from Feldman Architecture!
The end of 2013 brought exciting news for the firm as the Butterfly House, which we worked on with Bernard Trainor + Associates and Groza Construction, won a coveted Design Award from AIA Monterey Bay! Congratulations to the Butterfly House design and construction team.
The design of our office renovation was featured in the special edition of Design Bureau which was released in December. This coincides with the completion of another fabulous office renovation in the Presidio for a VC firm with Novo Construction. We also completed the Sausalito Outlookwith Forsythe Construction and the photos are in. You’ll see that the clients had lots of collectibles, books, and music which required careful planning and coordination to find organized and elegant storage solutions.
You may be flipping between this newsletter and our projects, and if so, you will notice our big news – the launching of a re-vamped website! This website is intended to highlight new work and feature the stunning photography of our projects while being more compatible to viewing the site on a variety of devices. You should notice bigger, bolder images but also note in terms of content that our blog now includes all of the content formerly hosted on Green Architecture Notes. The new blog will continue to highlight all things Feldman and fully integrate our thoughts and research on sustainability – as we do in any of our projects.
This fall, we have been enjoying working with Humbeen Geo, an intern and recent grad of UC Berkeley, so much that we welcome Humbeen as our newest addition to the staff.
Wishing you a happy, prosperous New Year and looking forward to working together throughout 2014!
In September, London hosted its 10th annual Design Festival, an event and exhibition showcasing the country’s best and most inspirations designs, designers, retailers, manufacturers, educators – anyone and anything having to do with design. There were events held all over the city, including massive installations by some of the world’s most exciting and inspiring designers. I love to see art installed off of museum walls, so, although I didn’t actually go to London to see these in person (sigh), the most exciting new designs for me were the installations that took over whole spaces. Two project in particular looked truly transformational: Benjamin Hubert’s Amass screen for the trade show auditorium and Najla El Zein’s windmill gate.
Our office has loved Benjamin Hubert’s lights all year (stay tuned a bio-type post on him soon), so it’s no surprise that I’m a fan of his take on a partition for the Festival’s trade show auditorium. Hubert’s Amass partition is a series of branches delicately hanging from top supports. The result is an ethereal screen in an organic form which both defines the space but also provides enough transparency to let passers-by get a glimpse of the activity within.
The branches actually are injection-moulded polypropylene, assembled from a kit of parts. After the event is over, the branches can be taken apart and reassembled for another event or venue. Hubert’s plan is to sell Amass as screen/partition/wall for other commercial and contract projects. Amass comes as a kit of parts which allows for many variations in assembly. To get a better idea of how these parts come together, check out this video taken of the Amass installation at the Festival.
Like Hubert’s Amass, Najla El Zein Studio’s The Wind Portal also blurs the definition of wall, partition, and door. The portal is a transition element between the Festival’s trade show and the outside, but one that charmingly interacts with those walking by.
The gate is a series of 5,000 windmills precisely placed to and controlled by a computerized wind system, which spins different windmills at different times and at different speeds. The installation isn’t completely about control, as the movement of air caused by passers-by also causes the windmills to turn. It’s thrilling when you can see how your actions directly affect your surroundings and Najla El Zein created a lovely way for that to happen.
Zein says that “the installation aims to make visitors feel and hear that they are transitioning between two spaces. It defines an exaggeration of a specific sensorial movement that each of us experiences throughout our daily lives.” Watch the video to see how people react – it’s wonderful.
This fall brings lots of exciting happenings around the Feldman office – new faces, new clients and projects, and the completion of several stunning projects including a fabulous office renovation at the Presidio.
In the news, Remodeling Magazine chose our Noe Valley Remodel as Project of the Year in the 2013 Design Awards; check out the video with one of the judges noting several features of the project. The Shack won a Merit Award in the Builder’s Choice and Custom Home Design Awards for Best Outdoor Space, recognizing the building’s strong indoor-outdoor relationship and Loretta Gargan’s beautiful garden design. We were also pleased to be part of the AIACC’s Monterey Design Conference Home Tours in late September, bringing architects and architecture enthusiasts to see our recently finished Butterfly House in the Santa Lucia Preserve. Check out Matthew’s blog post on the conference to get a closer look at the weekend down south which many staff members enjoyed! We’re also working on a re-design of the website to be launched in early 2014.
Dwell featured the Shack in the September issue, focusing once again on the great outdoor space in that project, and the October issue of San Francisco magazine included Mill Valley Cabins in the Design Scout section. The eco+historical Victorian Update was profiled by Ecohome Magazine, highlighting many of its green features and our collaboration with eco+historical. Also, photographer Russell Abraham released a new book, Rural Modern, which highlights modern residences from around the United States including the Caterpillar House.
‘In-house’ we also have big news with Steven Stept joining Feldman Architecture as Principal in August. Brett Moyer was named an Associate as well, recognizing his leadership within the firm as well as his dedication to clients and projects including the soon-to-be completed Ranch o|h, the soon to-be-completed modern farmhouse in Palo Alto, and the award-winning Shack. Michael Bautista and Daniel Holbrook also joined our team this month; be sure to check out their bios on our website. And finally, Hannah and Patrick Brown-Lopes welcomed Philippa (Pippa) Maya to their family. We’re wishing them the best in Hannah’s leave, and look forward to seeing the new face around the office when she returns!
The Monterey Design Conference kicked off at Asilomar Conference grounds in Pacific Grove, Designed by Julia Morgan in 1913. Here, every two years, architects and designers gather to hear from local and international industry leaders who are shaping the future of our built environments. A group of us ventured down south from San Francisco to soak it all in, finding no shortage of inspiration from the speaker discussions, workshops, and perhaps most of all from the surrounding coastal landscape in which we were all happily immersed together for the weekend.
Between conference events we also found time to enjoy the outdoors and each other’s company; Matt, Jon, and Bridgett got out for early morning runs along the ridgelines of the preserve, Jess made egg sandwiches breakfast, Kevin helped his team win at the board game Cranium, and Bridgett even made a fabulous vegan chocolate cake!
Tai and Elaine joined us on Saturday to tour the Feldman houses completed and under construction in the Preserve, and on Sunday our most recently completed Preserve project The Butterfly House was on tour for the conference. We returned after the weekend feeling refreshed and inspired.
– Matthew and Kevin
The team at Feldman makes the most of their weekends. See below! All images were taken Labor Day Weekend 2013.
Bridgett hiked to The Tourist Club on Mount Tamalpais.
Caroline was at Flora Grubb along with the resident cat.
Chris driving back from Paso Robles.
Hannah snapped a pic of the America’s Cup.
With the Bay Bridge closed for the weekend, Jess took a ferry to the East Bay.
Jonathan training the next generation of architects.
Kevin hiking in the Marin Headlands.
Lindsey and her girls at the Larkspur Marin Country Mart.
Michael found a friend at the Monterey County Fair.
Sunset from Nick’s rooftop.
Brett at a trailhead in Lucas Valley.
Steven’s daughter at the Salk Institute.