An Interview with Jeff Jungsten of Jungsten Construction...

Adam Willis Photography

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.

Sonoma Wine Country 1

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.

A recent rendering from a Feldman Architecture/Jungsten Construction collaboration

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?

 

Staff Spotlight: Eric Willits...

 

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.

Third Thursday June 2019: Reuben Margolin...

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!

Staff Spotlight: Serena Brown...

Q: Where are you from?

I grew up in San Jose and lived in the same house for all of my childhood. Our neighborhood was a great one for playing outdoors – in the front yard or in the street. It was one of those neighborhoods that seemed to have hordes of kids my age, which made for memorable summers. My family would come up to San Francisco some weekends and when we had visitors from out of town. I remember driving around, hitting all the popular spots, and riding the cable car. Despite my experience being largely related to the ‘touristy areas’, those trips are what made me want to move up here.

Q: Where did you go to school?

I went to Cal Poly, San Louis Obispo and studied Communications with a focus on Intercultural Communications. I chose that my major because I was told that it was basically English with more job options. That, and I love writing, speaking, and all things interpersonal.  I was especially interested in Intercultural Communications because I love to travel and the professor I had for that specific class in college was extremely inspiring. He made the subject matter engaging and interesting even for those who weren’t in the major.  My interest was furthered by my time studying abroad. I went to London for a semester my third year and traveled around as much as I could. Due to that experience, I ended up doing my senior project on reverse culture shock in expats.

Q: Tell me about your family

My mom and dad live in San Jose and I try to visit at least once a month.  My mom chose to become a stay-at-home mom when I was born and my dad stopped working when I was in 2nd grade when he got sick. They were both around at home for my entire childhood, which was a blessing and a curse! But mostly a blessing.

My sister, who is three years younger than me, is graduating from Chapman University in May. She’s adorable and currently looking for her first ever big girl job.  She studied communications and marketing as well but her interest leans more toward PR.  She’s really graphically minded and I’m the wordsmith so we’re opposites in that regard. She and I get along well, though she jokes that I “became a great big sister once I left the house.” I enjoy helping her with school projects and now job hunting. In return, she’s recently started to help facilitate my plant addiction.

Q: What is the most interesting aspect of architecture to you?

Hmmm… There are a few interesting aspects that come to mind. One thing that I never took notice of before working here is the crazy difference of opinion that so many people have about architecture. I always thought that there was traditional, modern, and something in between but have since learned that architecture is much more faceted than I ever gave it credit for.

In the past I’d been interested in cultural differences when it came to architecture and how those differences can translate across borders. I’ve always been very appreciative of beautiful buildings when I travel.  Whenever I take photos, they are always of people, and buildings…and food.  Actually I guess that covers everything.

One thing that I would consider a new development is my understanding of architecture as trendy. I’d never thought of it that way before, but after following so many architecture influencers on Instagram… I’ve changed my mind!

Q: How long have you worked at FA?

I’ve worked here for roughly one year and one month and I’m the last Staff Spotlight!

Q: What makes our office unique?

Oh man, well, I’ll just regurgitate what everyone else has said first and then give my own opinion.  The people of course. I had the best coworkers in the world at my last job and I never thought I could top that. Then I found a whole new group of people in this job and thought ‘oh, I can find awesome people even outside of Japan’!  The amount that everyone talks to each other every day is fabulous.  Everyone is always walking across the office and stopping at different desks, it’s surprising any of us get anything done! I’m pretty sure I exchange words with nearly every designer every day, even if they are just asking me where to find a specific supply in the storage room.

Q: What were you doing in Japan before joining Feldman?

I was teaching English in a small commuter city called Matsudo.  It’s in the Chiba prefecture about an hour northeast of Tokyo. I was teaching at what’s called an eikaiwa or English conversation school. My students ranged from age 3 all the way to 73, so the whole range of human existence really. I lived and worked there for a year and loved every minute.

Q: What’s your favorite part about coming to work?

I like that I have a routine but also that every day is different.  I like seeing and talking to people that I am fond of.  I also like the office itself.  It’s beautiful, there’s a lot of light, it’s comfortable, and I have a big desk. I enjoy the many responsibilities that my position is in charge of, and that I get to make everyone else’s days a little bit easier.

Q: What is the last show you binge watched?

Queer Eye season three.  I recently took a weekend up to Guerneville with my boyfriend, Jeremy and we took some time to just relax in the evenings and binge Queer Eye after hiking, eating and exploring during the day.  We cry almost every episode. It’s a great bonding experience.

Q: Do you have any fun plans coming up?

I have a lot of plans! I’m 100% a planner. This weekend is the Cherry Blossom Festival in Japantown which I absolutely have to attend. I also have plans to go to Peru in June with my mom and sister.  We were going to do a four-day trek to Machu Picchu but now my mom’s knees aren’t doing too well so we are probably going to take the train.  I also have tickets to three music events in June, July and August.  And that’s just so far! Hopefully I can go abroad again in the fall, Jeremy and I are thinking about Iceland, South East Asia, or New Zealand.

Staff Spotlight: Bianca Mills...

Q: Where are you from?

My dad was in the military so I never quite know how to answer that. I’ve lived in San Francisco longer than anywhere else, on and off since I was eight. At this point I’ve lived here for about 19 years total. I like living in the city because I’m close to most of my family, I like the unpredictable weather, and I think there’s some of the best restaurants in the country here. That, and I live in a rent controlled apartment that I’m not planning to leave anytime soon.

Q: Where did you go to school?

I started at New York University in the photography department and I graduated with a psychology degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. I switched majors when I switched schools because psychology seemed a little more practical and was something I’d always had an equal interest in. While at NYU I was taking abnormal psych as an elective while most people in my class were taking electives like ‘circus’ and ‘acting,’ which were very popular.

Q: Tell me about your family?

My parents are both retired and will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this year. They live in Kentfield, Marin. My dad was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army while my mother worked in retail most of my life and had a few interior design clients after she retired.

My sister is in marketing. She and her husband live in San Rafael with my nephews, James and William. My brother and his wife recently moved to Austin with my niece, Sadie, and nephew, Brady. My niece and nephews are my favorites. My prized possessions are a large collection of bee drawings for ‘aunt Bee’.  I spend time with them as often as I can. Living in Austin makes it difficult to see Sadie and Brady outside of FaceTime.  James and William are at the age where they seem to have sports every day that they don’t have school. I go to their games and make dates with them as much as possible.

Q: When did you first develop an interest in architecture?

I’ve always enjoyed administrative positions in creative fields but I got into architecture specifically by accident. I’m both right and left brain so I’ve always been interested in creative arts as well as organizational tasks, finance spreadsheets, and human behavior. These types of roles are a way to combine the two. Also, creative professions tend to have office cultures that I fit in better with as opposed to dry, homogenized, corporate environments.

Q: How long have you worked at FA?

I’m coming up on my 5th anniversary in May.

Q: What makes our office unique?

I agree with what everyone else has said but don’t really want to just repeat it. I like that it’s casual and there are always different conversations going on. I like that everyone is very different but can appreciate the same sense of humor.  Our staff meetings usually include a lot of laughter.

Q: What’s your favorite part about coming to work?

I like the atmosphere and that I’m able to just be myself. I can wear jeans and converse every day. I live close enough to walk to work. Feldman has a great group of people that I both respect on a professional level and also care about on a personal level.

Q: Do you have any fun plans coming up?

I actually do! I am going to Paris for the first week of June and stopping in Dublin on my way home to see The Cure at Malahide Castle!  They’ve been my favorite band since I was 14.

Q: What are the top three things on your bucket list?

To do a gorilla trek in Rwanda, to live somewhere in Europe for at least a year and to take my mom as my date to the Oscars the year I win for Best Original Screenplay.

Spring Newsletter 2019...

Springtime in San Francisco

Promotions, new hires, photo shoots, and publication announcements? It must be Spring!

One of our newly photographed projects, dubbed ‘The Meadow Home’, was inspired by prominent views and beautiful slopes. The design team, made up of Lutsko Associates, Zaharias Design, Strandberg Engineering, Kim Cladas Lighting Design, Art of Construction, and BKF Engineers strove to integrate the structure into the landscape to minimize its massing within a large undeveloped meadow. Kudos to whole team for a beautiful job well done!

This designer should be a familiar face! Daniel has been an integral part of the Feldman team since 2013 and we’re thrilled to announce that this past December he became the newest Associate at our firm! With fourteen years of experience behind him, he’s continuing to excel as a project lead and is always sharing his knowledge with those around him.

In 2019 we’ve also added two more designers to the Feldman Family! Kateryna Rogynska joins us after working at Morphosis in Los Angeles, UNstudio in Amsterdam, LAVA in Berlin, and SOM here in San Francisco. She is a multidisciplinary creator with extensive experience in institutional, commercial, office, and high-rise design projects and we’re excited to have her join the team!

With two decades of experience in high value residential projects in both the Bay Area and Southern California, Jeremy Alden joins us as a seasoned Project Manger with an integrated knowledge of design and construction. He’s been living and working in the Bay Area for 6+ years, with a few of his noted projects being the Walt Disney Family Museum, San Carlos Medical Center, and Cavallo Point.

If you’ve been keeping up with our work you may have noticed an influx of projects added to our On The Boards page. Two projects in Los Altos Hills and Portola Valley respectively, Floating Bar House (top left) and Pan’Orama  (top right) broke ground last year and are continuing construction into 2019. The Pavilions (bottom left) in Atherton are nearly finished and the team is looking to wrap up at the end of April. Finally, Surf House (bottom right) down in Santa Cruz has been making great progress and has provided a wonderful opportunity for our marketing team to play with their new drone.

Started close to three years ago, one of our Pro-Bono projects is set to finish this coming May! The Playworks office near Jack London Square is a playful and whimsical space, reflective of the clients and their unique brand of recreation. Keep an eye out for this month’s issue of Registry SF for a behind the scenes look at how this project evolved and came together.

Finally, we’re happy to share that Sophia Beavis returned from maternity leave in early February and our designers participated in an in-house baby photo guessing game to celebrate. As you can see, everyone was quite amused with the results.

We have a handful of photo shoots coming up this spring and we’re excited to share new work with you all in the coming months. Stay tuned for a publication announcement next week… we’ll give you a hint, we’ve been on the cover once before!

– Feldman Architecture

 

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