This Earth Day, we are reflecting on the current state of our world and our community. As an organization, we are committed to sustainability now more than ever, and more conscious of how the rapidly changing world around us affects not only the spaces we design, but also our team that so beautifully designs them.
With COVID 19 changing the status quo, it’s a good time to reflect on our mission and our values. It also seems like a great time to highlight a few updates about our 2020 sustainability efforts, and to refresh our passion and commitment to leadership in the sustainability space.
As a milestone year in our industry’s journey towards carbon neutrality by 2030, we are happy to report our progress in a newly updated Action Plan. In December of 2016 Feldman Architecture signed onto the 2030 Challenge and AIA 2030 Commitment, two programs that are promoting a vision that calls for all new buildings, developments, and renovations to be carbon-neutral by 2030. As part of this commitment Feldman Architecture’s Sustainability AOE has crafted this Action Plan to serve as a roadmap to help us achieve our goals, as well as to encourage more sustainable practices within the firm. In it we outline short and long-term goals in areas that go beyond just sustainable design, including community outreach and office culture.
This year, we are releasing a 2020 update to our sustainability Action Plan on Earth Day– outlining our progress from the past year and highlighting both what we have achieved and where we can improve. A highlight includes our recently launched Zero Carbon Operations Plan for our office.
Secondly, this spring, Jonathan Feldman was appointed to the AIA California COTE (Committee on the Environment) which works to educate and inform the design community about environmental and preservation issues and advise the organization on policy matters affecting the practice of architecture. Jonathan is excited to be serving on the communications subcommittee, working alongside peers to drive our industry in a sustainable and responsible direction.
And lastly, we are excited to say that our newly appointed Sustainability Integration Leader, and longtime FA Associate Ben Welty, is working with AIA SF on programming for their Sustainability Symposium this fall. Stay tuned for more!
We hope everyone is staying healthy and safe this spring- with an overwhelming amount of uncertainty and anxiety circulating, it’s easy to feel unmoored. Here at Feldman Architecture, we have transitioned our team to a fully remote workflow, and are working hard to continue to move our current projects forward while keeping an ear to the ground for new opportunities. Through this difficult time, we are finding reassurance and strength in our extremely hardworking, dedicated and talented team, as well as our amazing community of collaborators. Please enjoy a few updates, a glimpse into remote working as an architect, and more in our spring newsletter – which can be found here!
Kendall’s passion for interior design burgeoned during a trip abroad to Paris- where she became enamored with French architecture and antiques. Combined with her love for nature, specifically natural and organic patterns, Kendall found her niche in interior design after graduating from UC San Diego, she pursued a degree at San Francisco Academy of Art College, specializing in design.
Staying true to her roots, Kendall’s interests have remained in both French and classic design- but have undergone a degree of modernization for today’s clientele. She describes her personal style as romantic, however, “it’s gotten more tonal – leaning towards a neutral palette.” As she developed her practice, Kendall Wilkinson Design, Kendall aimed to create aesthetically pleasing homes, without being too precious or over the top.
Kendall described her ideal relationship with an architect as “synergetic, communicative, and respectful” and emphasized that the more cohesive a team, the better the working relationship, and the better the final product.
On our Woodpecker Ranch project, Kendall pointed to this synergy that made the collaboration successful and worthwhile. “FA did not only have a good lead architect they had a good all-around team.” This consistency found across team members made problem solving more efficient, the teams were able to consult each other before turning to the client, which saved everyone time and money- and resulted in one of her favorite projects.
Most recently, KWD released a new line of fabrics, partnering with Fabricut, – Kendall’s first collection of indoor-outdoor textiles and trims. “All of the inspiration came from my travels: images, moments, sights and even sounds that resonated with me,” Wilkinson says. “My trips to Paris and Mexico significantly inspired me. A lot of the geometrical patterns stem from Paris, particularly how the light reflects and refracts on the architecture. Mexico inspired bright colors and more botanical elements.” Read more in Luxe!
Kate Stickley fell into landscape architecture by chance, a suggestion from her college counselor, as a path that could combine her love of the outdoors, patterns, weather and art. Her career began in Florida, master planning international resorts and hotels, where she realized what was missing in her experience and process, “for me the connection with the end user is so important. This type of work didn’t allow me to connect with the individuals who were actually going to be interacting with the landscape.” After practicing around the world, she was ready to settle into her own practice, focusing on residential projects.
After moving to the Bay Area- Kate joined forces with close confidant and collaborator Vera Gates and together they birthed Arterra– a name encompassing the core of their work Art + Terra (Latin for Earth). Growing a practice while raising families solidified Arterra’s values as a residential firm- family centric, women run, and sustainably focused.
Gretchen Whittier described her growth into a landscape architect as a “regression.” As the daughter of a stone mason and a gardener on a 30 acre property in New Hampshire, concepts like soil management are in her blood. It wasn’t until getting behind a drafting table in a UC Berkeley extension class did she realize that landscape architecture fed all of her varying interests. Gretchen joined Arterra in 2005, and was promoted to partner in 2015.
Today, Arterra has found their niche as local leaders in site sensitive, sustainable, residential landscaping. The firm began designing small urban gardens, but has since grown to bigger and more environmentally complex projects. They find joy in connecting with their clients in envisioning their long term goals- and achieving them in the most sustainable way possible.
The Arterra team has always thought that working native and Mediterranean plants into their landscapes made the most sense aesthetically and environmentally – even before it was trendy. They aim for their designs to seamlessly connect architecture to the site, finding harmony between the two.
This organic indoor connection is perfectly framed in our Sonoma Wine Country project- designed as a dialogue between landscape, architecture, and site. Kate remembers being so in tune with the Feldman team that even a slight redesign in to the master bath lead to a re-envisioning of some of the outdoor elements, which in turn sparked a reference to the interior fireplace. “That’s what why we love working with FA, we value each other’s contribution in the design process, and our teams collaborate beautifully and effectively.”
“There is no signature Arterra garden. Our landscaping is all specifically tailored to the site and the architecture. We want our clients to say ‘I cannot even remember what it looked like before.’ It should look like it has always been there”- Kate Stickley
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.