As we turn the corner into 2021, our team wanted to provide an update on the work we are doing behind the scenes to uphold our commitment to racial justice. Last fall, Feldman Architecture solidified a Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Committee, consisting of five FA staff members, which since then has been meeting weekly. In the last quarter of 2020, the committee lead an internal analysis of Feldman Architecture’s procedures, handbook, hiring processes, and submitted a series of recommendations to improve upon these and other areas of our firm as a whole. Our internal assessment felt like a logical place to start, and also lead us to a few important realizations. We first made the decision to enlist help with our DEI efforts from a third party – we are in the beginning steps of working with Humanize Us All to complete an internal assessment of our firm, and engage in an all staff and leadership DEI training that will help us improve as an organization, reflect on our firm culture and mission, and make our efforts to engage our community more impactful.
The committee also realized that as a passionate group filled to the brim with ideas and lofty goals, we will best serve our mission with focused work in specific areas. This quarter, the JEDI Committee will be investing significant time and resources in educational outreach and internship programs for BIPOC students. As a start, the committee will be mentoring a high school student connected with our firm through AFSF, and will be exploring design, software, sustainability, and other aspects of what it means to work in architecture with her. We are also working on crafting summer internship opportunities, as well as beginning to engage in pro bono work at an East Bay school.
At the end of the quarter, we will follow up with another blog post to report our findings, share our progress, and hold ourselves accountable. Please feel free to reach out with comments, suggestions, or questions.
Immersed – The California Houses of Feldman Architecture is an in-depth look at 20 years of the firm’s defining residential work spanning three areas: Urban, Suburban, and Rural. Feldman Architecture, a vibrant San Francisco-based studio, aims to create authentic, site-sensitive, sustainable spaces through a deeply collaborative process. This book, which includes commentary from Aaron Betsky and Daniel P. Gregory, as well as an interview with Vladimir Belogovsky, situates Feldman Architecture’s work within the northern California design canon and illustrates how the firm’s voice subtly translates across diverse geographies and contexts. Jonathan Feldman, in closing, reflects upon the values and aspirations that unify the firm’s work and inform its vision for the future.
We are proud to announce that our first monograph is slated for publication fall of 2021! We are looking forward to sharing more about the project, and continuously delighted by the genius of Oscar Riera Ojeda Publishers. Revisit this page as we develop more layouts, update ordering information, and plan book signings and events!
We can’t believe it’s already Fall! We hope you found some peace in the summer months and are ready for the changing of the seasons. In this newsletter, find some updates on virtual events, photoshoots, and even a little Hollywood magic… stay well, stay healthy, and be in touch!
“Standing on the site, looking at that view, I thought, ‘This is what you want to experience every day, all day, when you’re in the house.’ That experience of connecting to the land drove the design.” said Steven Stept.
We are so grateful to our talented friends at California Home + Design for including Slot House in their beautiful fall issue. In their Form and Function series, Partner in Charge Steven Stept describes the story behind the home, and the slot that runs through it – connecting the homeowners to the land. Read the full story here, and a big thank you to our lovely collaborators, Arterra Landscape Architects, Amber Autumn, Connie Wong, ZFA Structural Engineers, and David Wilds Patton Lighting Design.
Read the rest of our newsletter here!
Kelly Finley, Founder and Principal Designer at Joy Street Design, started her design career on an unusual path – in the court room. After 6 years as a practicing attorney in a corporate law firm, she began to realize that law wasn’t for her and enrolled in night classes through UC Berkeley extension, while still excelling at her law practice. In 2011, Finley started her own interior design practice – Joy Street Design, named after her first San Francisco home on Joy Street in Bernal Heights.
Today, Joy Street Design, headquartered in Oakland, is recognized as one of the top interior design firms in the East Bay, with 6 employees doing both residential and commercial interior design. Finley has a strong design vision, finding “joy in color,” firmly abiding by the rule “no white kitchens” – avoiding cliché muted color palettes. The use of color in her work is exciting and warm, integrating unexpected patterns and bright tones into home renovations and office designs (her work was even showcased on Property Brothers).
Finley found inspiration in her grandmother’s Chicago home where she grew up – “every wall was a different color and I felt like was being enveloped in a hug of nonsense” she told FA staff during our latest Third Thursday presentation. Despite some controversial color selections, her childhood home showed her how color can be used as an expression of life and joy.
As a part of the Joy Street Design family – Finley founded the nonprofit, Joy Street Initiative (JSI), in 2018 which donates time, money and design services to women’s shelters in the Bay Area. Not only does Finley use her own time on pro bono projects for organizations like Oakland Elizabeth House, but 10% of profits from Joy Street Design fund JSI projects. The JSI renovations are done with dignity and at a high level –without relying on hand-me-downs or second-hand furnishings and paying their contractors in full. Since the pandemic, Finley and the Joy Street Design team hosted a bedroom renovation giveaway to a COVID frontline worker – a nurse in the D.C. area, named Memuna, won the contest.
Throughout her career at Joy Street, Finley has thoughtfully cultivated a community of black designers and creatives in a predominately white space. From a longstanding relationship with her cabinet maker, to serving as an active member of the Black Artists and Designers Guild, Finley described how she hires employees and maintains collaborative relationships and networks among underrepresented groups in the design space.
We are looking forward to working with Kelly Finley and the Joy Street Design team in the future and are proud supporters of JSI. Donate to the Joy Street Initiative here.
Summer’s greetings from the Feldman Architecture team. We are so excited to share some updates with you – especially our very own Surf House featured in this month’s issue of Architectural Digest! We are wishing you a safe, healthy, and relaxing summer. Please find our entire summer newsletter here, and a few updates below.
“But beyond any piece of art or pedigreed object, the true spirit of the house resides in the Monterey cypress that lines its walls, doors, and cabinetry. ‘It feels like we’re living inside a fine piece of furniture, crafted by artisans at the top of their field. I love to lie on the couch and just let my eye trace all the details,’ the husband raves. His wife has the final word: ‘We don’t think about the house as a place. It’s an experience. It’s peace. It feeds our souls.'”
We are elated that Surf House is featured in the July/August 2020 issue of Architectural Digest! We are so proud to share this spread with our collaborators Commune, Ground Studio, Arborica, Tucci Lighting, among many others – and very thankful for the thoughtful words from Mayer Rus and stunning images from Stephen Kent Johnson. Read the piece online here, in print here, enjoy the project on our website, look for the issue on newsstands, and find one of our favorite quotes from the homeowners above.
This quarter, we’ve been doing a lot of reflecting, discussing, and planning. Below, find a statement and a series of commitments from our team inspired by recent activism fighting for racial justice. We want to share these truths and commitments with our community to start our path towards reconciliation.
Feldman Architecture stands in vigorous opposition to racism in all its forms and is committing to actionable steps towards addressing structural, societal, and implicit biases, starting with those baked into the architecture and design industries. As a firm that names both sustainability and transparency as core values, we must acknowledge the lack of both in our industry at large when it comes to racial justice.
First and foremost, we must acknowledge the truth – our country and our industry specifically are structured to uphold systems of racism. With our studio’s focus on residential design serving very wealthy clients, we also must acknowledge our privilege and complicity within this system. With only 2% of all architects currently registered in the United States being Black, we must commit to actively working to increase accessibility and to offering support and reconciliation to Black architects, students, and members of our community.
Within our firm, we have formed an antiracism focus group, which has been brainstorming actionable items we can take collectively to address areas identified as needing improvement. We aim to assemble meaningful commitments with care and integrity, and to consistently and continually hold ourselves accountable and improve upon said commitments.
Feldman Architecture will firstly address racism internally at our firm, exploring tangible ways in which implicit bias affects our lives and the lives of those around us, specifically focusing on strategies to hold ourselves accountable and strive towards antiracism. These discussions will work to empower staff to start the journey of self-reflection and support and uplift Black community members, designers, and loved ones.
In order to address the lack of Black professionals in our industry, we will work to expand our recruiting and educational outreach. We commit to making our internship program more robust – Feldman Architecture will work with organizations like NOMA to offer internships to aspiring BIPOC architects, performing outreach and building relationships with high school and college students in our community.
We believe that specifically exposing marginalized and disenfranchised students at a younger age to architectural and design opportunities can begin to address and break down the systemic barriers that have historically kept the industry homogeneous. We must take intentional action to break this cycle and work with organizations performing educational outreach in Black communities and form pathways and relationships to do so.
We will scrutinize our hiring process. Currently, Feldman Architect has zero Black employees. We aim to change that to reflect the demographics of our broader community, and therefore will commit to actively recruiting Black architects and encouraging others in our industry to do the same. We will establish relationships with HBCUs and expand and diversify our hiring process via organizational partnerships, job boards, and community outreach.
We will prioritize pro bono efforts which provide design services and consultations to organizations and nonprofits that are working towards racial justice and/or that specifically benefit Black communities. Our entire pro bono effort will be focused more closely and intentionally on serving underrepresented and minority communities.
We will aim to increase the diversity of our collaborator and consultant pool, specifically seeking out Black owned and led companies to work with and promote.
We will invite conversation and discussion. Please feel free to engage us with suggestions, ideas, or criticisms. We are dedicated to making this work a permanent part of our firm’s processes and will have blog posts updating our community on our progress as we work towards making our commitments as concrete and specific as possible within the next six months.
We are committed and open. There is much work to do and much for us to learn. Black lives matter, and always will.
This spring, despite facing challenges to our business, our projects, and our workflow- we have found joy in our collaboration with Gaile Guevara Studio on Pan‘Orama House – an airy California retreat that contrasts thoughtful industrial details with warm, expansive views. For the past few months, Gaile and her dedicated team have been sheltering in place in Pan‘Orama House, directing and coordinating shipments, unpacking and installing, organizing, and fully stocking the home with her impressive library of sustainable lifestyle products.
Gaile and her team bring deep knowledge in sourcing healthy, reusable, and compostable goods of all shapes, sizes, and uses for each of their clients – going above and beyond the typical interior design scope. Her library of products, brands, and suppliers is remarkable – and she shared some of her favorites with us.
“When we source a product, we want to be able to truly believe in not only the product we are providing our clients but also the company itself. We focus on three things- the impact on the earth, the quality of the product, and the quality of the people.”
The Stasher Bag by Kat Nouri perfectly exemplifies all of the above – a sustainable replacement for single-use plastic bags developed and designed in the Bay Area. And as an added bonus – a portion of every Stasher sold goes straight to high-impact nonprofits like Surfrider and 5Gyres – organizations dedicated to preserving and rehabilitating our oceans.
Lindsey Theobald, our Director of Interiors, and I were lucky enough to catch up with Gaile last week as she walked us through some of the processes and products she is incorporating into the installation process at Pan‘Orama House. With more time (and a delayed delivery schedule) Gaile has had the opportunity to give this project the finishing touches and extra love that it deserves – a treatment she is rarely able to provide with busy schedules and fast-paced deadlines.
“We’ve been pretty lucky to let our inner OCD love for food come out with testing all the products. With being limited to not having cleaners or movers, having the opportunity to audit and unpack the Client’s inventory while also organizing has allowed us to really dive into how we can help reduce over shopping and reducing food waste. Setting up a zero-waste program is our biggest challenge – figuring out how to help families’ transition to sustainable products.”
Gaile was able to give us an in-depth Zoom tour of the master bath, fit with sustainable products of all shapes and sizes; essential oils and plastic-less floss from Public Goods, compostable Band-Aids from Nutricare, as well as other favorites from companies like, well kept, by Humankind, Skagerak, and Texidors.
We are excited to continue working with Gaile on more projects, – including Floating Bar House in Los Altos Hills, which is currently under construction. “We love working with FA because we can be involved from the very beginning of the project- we can work as a unified team to deliver on the client’s vision.” Gaile and her team are already deeply involved in the spatial planning and interior architecture at Floating Bar House – we can’t wait to show you how it turns out!
As Shelter in Place Policies are lifted, Gaile Guevara Studio wants to help support all those who have been of service as front liners to ensure our communities are safe and healthy. Before everyone returns to their regular routines and consuming, they’d like to provide some simple solutions to help pave the way forward to more sustainable consumption. In efforts to show their appreciation for the suppliers who are leading the way with helping educate around sustainable alternatives, Gaile Guevara Studio is offering remote consultations – providing new clients access to their suppliers, resources & special discounting. Proceeds from the design consultations will be put towards custom care packages to front liners in The Nursing Ward at Manhattan Hospital and Westcoast Care in BC Canada. Get in touch for a consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org!