‘Tis the season for final exams and design reviews, and in this spirit, we’ve collected a list of favorite books from studies past and present. Anyone who enjoys reading about the built and natural environment would enjoy them.
At Home, by Bill Bryson
Matt thinks this book is brilliant! It’s a history of domestic life over the last 150 years; if you’ve ever wondered how incredibly difficult life was for us before electricity, dining rooms, silverware, grocery stores, and even indoor plumbing, read this book. Next time you flush the toilet or open the refrigerator for a snack, you’ll think about just how ‘easy’ home life is here in the 21st century. Enjoy!
Glen Murcutt, by Francoise Fromonot
Elaine loves how well Murcutt integrates basic environmental factors (like light, heat, water) into his architecture. This book provides detailed drawings, capturing how he translates those basic elements into architecture.
Learning from Las Vegas, by Venturi, Scott Brown & Izenour
Even if you are not a disciple of Post-Modern art and architecture, the thesis of Learning from Las Vegas breaks down the distinctions between high and low. Hannah enjoys this book’s wit and humor as the authors demonstrate how much we can learn from what has been traditionally deemed “low”. And what’s not to love about a decorated duck?
Masters of Light, by Henry Plummer
Bridgett finds this book both visually and intellectually inspiring, as it looks at changing thoughts on light across disciplines and at case studies of architecture that are composed of light and shadow.
In Praise of Shadows, by Jun’ichiro Tanizaki
Although we do still prefer our cleanly toilets, we are all inspired to “immerse ourselves in the darkness and discoverits own particular beauty…”
Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers, by Leonard Koren
Modernism is cool, wabi-sabi is warm.Modernism romanticizes technology, wabi-sabi romanticizes nature.
Wabi-sabi is the beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.
It is a beauty of things modest and humble.
The Eyes of the Skin, by Juhani Pallasmaa
“The body knows and remembers. Architectural meaning derives from archaic responses and reactions remembered by the body and the senses.”
The Poetics of Space, by Gaston Bachelard”
When the intellectual realm, the realm of ideas, is in balance with the experiential realm, the realm of phenomena, form is animated with meaning. In this balance, architecture has both intellectual and physical intensity, with the potential to touch mind, eye, and soul.”
Thinking Architecture, by Peter Zumthor
“Associative, wild, free, ordered and systematic thinking in images, in architectural, spatial, colorful and sensuous pictures – that is my favorite definition of design.”
The Tao of Architecture, by Amos Ih Tiao Chang
This is a light read that Tai found to be a good counterpoint to the more cerebral texts required in his university days, when he was more interested in phenomenology than highly theoretical studies in architecture.
Invisible Cities, by Italo Calvino
Informal, by Cecil Balmond
The Death and Life of Great American Cities, by Jane Jacobs
A must read for several of us in the office and for those who love the city. Jane Jacobs brought to life the concept of the “eyes on the street” which can be seen in action in amazing, transformative programs throughout the US, including Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children’s Zone.
The Feldman team set out Friday on a field trip of epic proportions: an overnight excursion to the Pinnacles National Monument. Along the way was a stop at the site of one of our projects under construction (see On the Boards: Walnut Farm Retreat) to have dinner and take in the sunset. The following day everyone explore the park at their own pace – hiking, rock climbing and pool-side. – Bridgett (aka Chairwoman of Feldman Social Committee ’11)
DAY ONE – Site Visit and BBQ at Walnut Farm Retreat
DAY TWO – Pinnacles
Most of Feldman Architecture’s clients appreciate the importance of sustainably built homes and ask us to help them make choices that use materials wisely and reduce energy use. We know that buildings consume almost half of all fossil fuels burned in the United States, but not surprisingly, transportation consumes the next largest percentage of fossil fuels.
The team here at Feldman Architecture does its part to reduce carbon emissions by making smart choices in the buildings we design and how we commute to work. With few exceptions we all regularly bike, walk, take public transportation, or ride a scooter to our offices in SOMA. One of us even recently started taking a ferry that runs on bio-diesel. Since 50% of our office does not own a car, we visit job sites using City Car Share or Zip Car whenever possible.
We bring this same awareness of alternative transportation issues to our projects. Four projects under construction will offer dedicated 240 volt outlets with upgraded electrical panels for owners’ future electric cars. Several of our completed projects generate sufficient electricity through photo-voltaic panels to charge these vehicles. A project site in Santa Cruz was specifically chosen for its proximity to the beach, schools, transit and shopping. Though this particular client currently lives in Ohio, he has already bought a bike to avoid renting a car on his frequent site visits. For another project under construction, the owners will enter their home – frequently sweaty and muddy – directly through a large bike storage room. These clients have gotten creative with their bikes – see the photos below!
All of these efforts use energy wisely and conserve resources, but they’re also a great way to travel around the City and appreciate the sights. – Brett
This spring, Feldman Architecture teamed up with Fulcrum Engineering to create a structure for this week’s Canstruction benefit for the San Francisco Food Bank. The theme of the event was Spirit of San Francisco, which we took as an opportunity to celebrate the Giants’ victory in the 2010 World Series.
Throughout the Series, Giants’ fans adopted the slogan “Fear the Beard” in support of the famed pitcher, Brian Wilson, who helped bring the team to victory for the first time since 1954. Wilson’s thick, dyed black facial hair became an icon for the team’s tenacity and was the subject of one of the favorite chants among crowds leading up to the series win. The Beard continues to grace t-shirts, hats, and headlines as the Giants continue the 2011 season with high hopes.
Our representation of The Beard, which won an honorable mention at Wednesday’s award ceremony, evokes this spirit which we all experienced in the final days of last year’s World Series. We chose dark colored labels to represent the dyed black beard and shaped the sculpture to best represent the recognizable icon with the full beard, mustache, and tall side burns. Most of the cans are beans, which also answers the Food Bank’s request for high protein canned goods.
Visitors are welcome to check out the amazing Canstructions created by several local architect and engineer firms at the Metreon on the 4th floor through Sunday, June 26th. Further information and details on donations can be found at the Canstruction website.
Canstruction brings together architects, engineers and contractors to design and build massive, sculptural structures from various canned goods. After the event, the cans are donated to local food banks for distribution to those in need. Leading to the donation of over 15 million pounds of food, the event has been held in many cities throughout the country, from Boston to Los Angeles and from Chicago to Austin. This June 22-26th, the Metreon will host the first annual event in San Francisco.
Feldman Architecture is excited to be paired with Fulcrum Structural Engineering for this year’s event. The request of the San Francisco Food Bank is to provide canned goods high in protein, while organizers have asked teams to dream big about the Spirit of San Francisco. Our team has been working for the past 4 weeks, drawing up a 3d Model, working on a method of canstruction, and looking for donations. We’ll post more soon, but in the meantime, if you’d like to help us in gathering cans, please email one of us directly or visit here for further information about donations. – Hannah and the Canstruction team
With the official launch of LEED for Homes in February of 2008, we were already consulting on several custom LEED-H pilot projects. We provide LEED-H “Representative” services through the LEED-H “Provider” in California, Davis Energy Group. The Representative is similar to having a LEED consultant on a LEED-NC project, except there is a strict limitation on the Representative’s time, since they are contracted through the Provider in an effort to keep certification costs down. The Provider is contracted by USGBC to act as the local agent for USGBC, since there is such a large volume of residential projects compared with other LEED programs. The program works fairly well, as long as the architect and contractor are savvy with green building, energy, water and indoor air quality.
Our most successful projects hired us independently to provide additional LEED-H consulting, which eased the burden on the design team and contractor. Some owners and architects initially expect LEED-H fees paid to USGBC to cover the consulting portion, which Davis Energy describes as the “how you do it” scope of work. Fees charged by USGBC, including the Representatives’ time, actually only cover the “did you do it?” scope of work. Davis Energy encourages owners and design teams to hire the Representatives independently, if the design team needs support in meeting prerequisites and credits. The most successful projects either pay someone in-house or hire a LEED consultant to coordinate, update, and administrate the LEED-H process. LEED-H requires numerous documents in addition to the LEED-H checklist, such as the Thermal Bypass Checklist, Accountability Forms, Durability Evaluation, and Rater Checklist. Keeping track of all these documents and preparing them at the appropriate time is challenging and confusing, particularly given the ongoing evolution of the LEED-H program. It is also important to keep in mind that the design team, owner, and contractor are also required to produce supporting documentation for each credit. Many people have the false impression that a LEED consultant prepares everyone’s documentation for them.
The main areas of discussion around LEED for Homes are hard and soft costs, prerequisites and credits. I’ve heard people say that only the top 15% of homes are targeted for LEED-H. This may be due to design team experience, quality of construction, potential added costs, and sheer will of the owner and architect. We had 5 LEED-H Platinum Homes certified last year where the added hard costs were very low; in the range of 2%-5% with a per square foot cost under $250. Those five homes are also net-zero energy homes. We also have the other spectrum of larger “green” custom homes that do not fit into Sarah Susanka’s “Not So Big House” concept; I’ll call them “Case Study Green Homes.” Added costs for LEED on these case study projects may actually be a smaller fraction of the overall costs, since volume and fancy finishes typically outweigh green elements and systems. Our hope is that working together, we can streamline the LEED-H program with the goal of added hard costs under 2% and added soft costs for the entire team under $10,000. It would be interesting to hear what others have to say about added soft costs and program efficiency improvements.
LEED-H Silver house in Palm Springs by Solterra Development
Michael Heacock + Associates is a LEED consulting firm with offices in San Francisco and Santa Barbara. Their work includes schools, commercial, public, institutional and residential projects.