“For me, this is what it’s all about: finding sources of inspiration outside of architecture and bringing it back [to our work]”. This was Tai’s takeaway from two recent field trips that got the Feldman Architecture team got out of the office and into the field. Both offered the opportunity to gain better understanding of the raw materials and the processes that are used to manipulate them: first wood at Arborica in Marshall and then concrete at Concreteworks in Oakland.
When he realized he was feeling burnt out on the restaurant business, Evan Shively, the acclaimed chef, hung up his apron and bought a piece of land outside Marshall in Sonoma County to pursue his second dream. His vision is a lumber yard; not just any lumber yard, but a specialized mill that transforms reclaimed old-growth timbers into pieces of art. Most of the trees are over 400 years old, and the wood can take 20 years to age at a rate that maximizes stability. “It takes someone unique,” recalls Tai, “someone with an artistic eye for the material as well as the patience and the long view to carve out this kind of a business. Evan feels a responsibility to use the wood in ways that it will be most appreciated. He has learned to let the wood itself be his source of inspiration, working with the wood rather than against it.”
Andrew Kudless was working on concrete panels to be erected at the FRAC Centre in Orleans, France, and the Feldman team got a peak behind the scenes at the project. In collaboration with Concreteworks, a local fabrication studio that specializes in concrete furniture and fixtures, Andrew is testing the limits of textiles as formwork for concrete. The pieces for the FRAC commission employ Andrew’s innovative fabric-based form making combined with Concretework’s new fiberglass reinforcing technology, allowing almost endless exploration of thin-shell concrete forms. “It’s exciting to see local craftspeople who are spearheading a revolution in concrete,” said Tai. “By manipulating the production process, they are pushing the envelope and teaching us new ways to engage with a familiar material.” The installation just went up at the FRAC center, so if you find yourself in France, make sure to check it out.
We are very pleased to release a special announcement that Steven Stept, AIA, has joined Feldman Architecture as a Principal of the firm! Steven brings to us over 25 years of experience with an expertise in residential architecture. Steven has extensive studio leadership experience and has been recognized for his skillful and efficient manner in managing staff and projects; achieving clients’ budgets, schedules and goals on assignments of varying complexity and delivery methods. His ability to establish a team approach involving staff, consultants, clients, and users has been instrumental in producing highly successful projects – not only custom residential but also multi-family residential developments, commercial interiors and institutional projects.
Steven will apply his considerable background and skill to help enrich the work of Feldman Architecture as it focuses on making its designs and process worthy of the increasing challenges of our exciting new projects. He will add a seasoned design voice to Feldman’s already collaborative process and provide even more rigor to the firm’s production and management, while freeing up Jonathan to focus more on design and business development. Steven also brings a handful of wonderful projects and clients with him – which the whole firm will enjoy guiding to completion.
We look forward to introducing you to Steven in person when you next visit our office, and in the meantime, please find Steven’s bio here.
With this summer comes sun, swim, America’s Cup racing and lots of projects under construction for Feldman Architecture. The office has been a little quieter of late as site visits become more frequent. And for those in the office, we frequently step outside to look down the street and see an AC75 cruising by.
In the news, our Telegraph Hill Renovation was profiled in San Francisco’s Best of the Bay Area issue this July. Photos of this spectacular home and its stunning 360° views are now up on our website. The San Francisco Chronicle profiled The Shack which was one of the sites on the Marin Home Tour in May. The Tour brought hundreds of design enthusiasts through five homes in Marin and also led to an interview with Jonathan on Curbed SF which we encourage you to check out. Finally, the Forest Hills Renovation is appearing in the Summer issue of Modern Luxury Interiors California – check out pages 54-56.
In hardcover, three Feldman projects were profiled in Loft Publications’ new 150 Best Balcony and Terrace Ideas; these include 2Bar, Open Box and the Pacific Heights Townhouse. We’re pleased to announce that the Butterfly House in Carmel will be featured on the Home Tours for the Monterey Design Conference held on September 27, 28 and 29th at Asilomar. Check out the bobcat that’s been visiting the clients at Butterfly on a regular basis and enjoying their beautiful concrete walls!
The eco+historical Victorian Update, in collaboration with developer Joshua Mogal of eco+historical, was awarded LEED Platinum this spring bringing the tally up to 4 Feldman homes certified under the LEED for Homes program. We recently finished photography at the Santa Cruz Haus, also a LEED Platinum home. Several more are in the pipeline and awaiting final certification.
Feldman continues to edit two blog sites and with GreenArchitectureNotes.com, we are launching a new series which features the reclaiming of unused urban space. Our first post profiles Chicago’s efforts to reuse the Bloomingdale Train Line for a new system of trails and the second edition looks at the Lowline in NYC’s Lower East Side. We are always looking for projects to feature so if you have something new, please submit to one of the staff members.
In house, we sadly said goodbye to Elaine Uang in June as she begins new ventures in architecture, planning and community building in Palo Alto. Thankfully, after one year in Los Angeles, Camille Cladouhos returned to San Francisco and to Feldman just as Elaine was saying goodbye. And in personal news, Hannah recently married her sweetheart, Patrick, at City Hall and they’re anxiously anticipating the arrival of Baby Brown-Lopes in September.
On Thursday, June 13th Feldman Architecture hosted Bay Area Young Architects (BAYA) for their monthly Firm Presentation and Tour. With beverages and snacks in hand, 30-40 people gathered to get the inside scoop of the firm’s ethos, work, and design process through 5 completed and ongoing projects. As Jonathan moderated the discussion, attendees were lead through the stories of context and particular conditions of each project by their respective project managers.
Thank you BAYA for a wonderful evening of good conversation and architecture.
What does it mean to be “green” 20 feet underground? This is the question being addressed by the Lowline, a proposal for 60,000 square feet of subterranean public space in an abandoned trolley terminal in New YorkCity’s Lower East Side. Situated at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge and beneath the city streets, the environment of the former Williamsburg Trolley Terminal consists of nearly 1.5 acres of crisscrossing railroad tracks, cobblestones, and a forest of steel columns supporting a vaulted concrete and asphalt ceiling. One would be hard-pressed to find anything green within the cavernous interior–not even a blade of grass. It is a forgotten relic of New York’s past, once a critical element in the city’s infrastructure and civic life now unseen and underutilized.
With the Lowline proposal, designer James Ramsey and director Dan Barasch seek to transform the former trolley terminal into an urban green space in the most traditional sense which is to say a park complete with grass, trees, walking paths, and recreation and leisure areas. While this may not be the most logical appropriation for an underground space, renderings from their proposal show children playing beside illuminated pools of water with lush trees receding into the distance. A grid of steel I-beams supports a vaulted ceiling which appears to emanate thin sheets of natural light to the environment below.
In order to provide natural light for the plants and trees underground, the designers have employed the use of remote skylight technology to collect sunlight from above and channel it below. While the concept is not new, the technology is novel in its use of advanced optical systems. Situated above ground are solar collection dishes and helio tubes which reflect and collect sunlight through their parabolic form and fiber optic cables. They are the only visible element of the park from street level. The dish employs a tracking mechanism which allows it to follow the path of the sun throughout the year. The light is then reflected and distributed through a mirrored dome into the space below.
This underground park would be the first of its kind. Its unique setting has dictated the process through which the proposal has been developed which is to say the primary issue with the Lowline is one of public perception from both a biological and cultural perspective. What would it feel like to be in an underground cavern filled with trees in a sunlit but skyless space? Is a park still green if it there is no sky?
Many questions about the proposal remain to be answered, but for now the Lowline team is busy trying to gain political, financial, and community support through a feasibility study and a full-scale mockup of the remote skylight. If the project does move forward, it would undoubtedly set a precedent and transform the definition altogether of what it means to be an urban green space.
Aaron Lim is a designer working at Feldman Architecture and is a frequent contributor to Green Architecture Notes.
This is the second in a series about different efforts to reclaim unused spaces in urban areas.. Contact us at email@example.com if you know of a project that you’d like to nominate for a future article.
There are often many reasons to embrace the chance of a long weekend. This spring after a yearlong effort, and a dozen design iterations, I happily packed up the truck and headed to the Eastern Sierras to enjoy one of the last waning weekends of spring. With me I packed my newly created 15.25 lbs of custom carbon awesomeness; each screw, painted line, and individual piece of technology researched, scrutinized and ultimately selected/designed by me.
Much like building a home, the process of building a bike like this is collaborative effort, with each person adding his or her expertise, technology and refinement. For this bike I enlisted the efforts of two separate frame-building companies, a paint shop, a mechanic, and over 10 individual component manufacturers.
My destination, Bishop, CA, lies in the Owens River Valley halfway between Mammoth Mountain and Mt. Whitney. Bounded to the west by the dramatic Eastern Sierras and to the east by the White Mountains (boundary between California & Nevada), this beautiful area of high desert has only a few offerings in the way of flat roads. Head off in any direction and you are quickly greeted by miles of climbing. Hopefully you have plenty of time to take in the traffic free roads and the scenery.
On one of my riding days, I headed north from Bishop for 30 miles and after 4000 feet of climbing was stopped by the snow line. I stretched my neck and shoulders, tucked in behind the handlebars, and enjoyed my well earned 20+ mile mountain descent back towards town, a mix of moderate to steep pitches, with open and technical curves. White-knuckle speeds in excess of 50 mph were moderated only by my mind looking down at 23 mm tires and my not so protective lycra suit. Balanced, predictable and well equipped, the bike was only limited by my nerves and ever-fatiguing arms.
Wow… looking forward to summer!