Architecture Firm Name: Feldman Architecture
Firm Location: San Francisco
Founding Year: 2003
Jonathan, AIA, LEED AP, is Feldman Architecture’s founding partner and CEO. Since establishing the firm in 2003, he has led its development into a residential and commercial design practice recognized for creating warm, light-filled spaces with an understated modern aesthetic. Jonathan is passionate about design that solves complex problems and is committed to creating solutions that significantly improve the way we live and interact with our planet.
Initially interested in filmmaking, Jonathan moved to California in the 1990s, where he worked on feature films and commercials. “I learned a lot from filmmaking that I apply to my work as an architect today,” he notes. “In particular, I came to appreciate how movement through space tells a story, and by thoughtfully choreographing that sequence, I can help to define how people see and experience the world.” Seeking a more direct connection to shaping the experience of space, Feldman shifted his career to architecture, earning a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Oregon, a program noted for its focus on sustainable design.
Jonathan’s work reflects an understanding of the elemental connections between buildings and their surrounding environment, whether urban or rural. “Architecture is inherently an act of optimism,” he notes. “It’s a belief that ideas can manifest themselves to solve problems and create beauty that we can all experience.” His work demonstrates that sustainability is an integral part of design, not merely an afterthought to solve a problem. Among Jonathan’s notable projects are Butterfly House, a home with operable walls open to merge inside with outside; The Farm, his own Victorian-era residence, which was transformed into a state-of-the-art sustainable tour de force; the Caterpillar House, a rammed-earth structure and the first LEED Platinum Custom Home on California’s Central Coast; and the firm’s own offices, which morphed a historic firehouse in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood into a multi-use office and commercial retail venue.
Jonathan’s work has been widely published, appearing in hundreds of publications worldwide, including the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Dwell, HuffPost, and Architectural Digest, among others. His recognition includes local, regional and global awards, notably several American Institute of Architects awards as well as the Chicago Athenaeum American Architecture Award.
In addition to his degree from the University of Oregon, Jonathan holds a Bachelor of Arts from Amherst College, where he majored in Astronomy and English. A registered architect in California, Hawaii, Oregon, Massachusetts, and New Mexico, Jonathan enjoys sharing his knowledge of architecture and sustainable design on panels and regularly serves on competition juries for local and national design awards, as well as the AIA California’s Committee on the Environment (COTE). He lives in San Francisco with his wife, two daughters, and an ever-increasing number of rescued animals.
Steven, AIA, is an owner and managing partner of Feldman Architecture. Steeped in the ideals of California Modernism—indoor-outdoor living, open planning, and siting buildings to foster intimacy with the surrounding landscape—Steven translates the conceptual into a contemporary language for today. Recognized for his residential projects, his work employs a minimal yet rich palette of materials to provide a tranquil background against which life is lived. Among his notable projects are Pan’Orama House, an airy California retreat that contrasts refined and technical details with tranquil views, Round House, a uniquely crafted residence that skillfully plays with form, materiality, and geometry, and Slot House, a modern home that brings bold minimalism to Los Altos Hills. In addition to custom, single-family homes, his work encompasses a broad spectrum of building types, including multi-family residential developments, modular, sustainable prefabricated homes, commercial interiors, and institutional projects.
His interest in site conditions, whether urban or rural, underscores a passion for thoughtful and responsive design effortlessly attuned to program, client needs, site, and budget. For Steven, “The language of architecture is meaningless unless it fosters an intimacy between people and the environment in which we exist.” Materials, and connections between materials, become conduits to reveal and unite experience to environment. “Design doesn’t stop with the documents that are turned over to builders and craftspeople. The dialogue continues as details are refined and shaped through exploration and dialogue. Construction is where design decisions become real.”
Steven’s work, spanning 34 years of practice, has been widely published, including dozens of features in publications such as Dwell, Western Art and Architecture, Architectural Record, Arttravel, and many others. In addition, his work has appeared in journals and books in India, Turkey, Israel, China, and Australia. A number of Steven’s projects have been exhibited at Modernbook/Gallery 494 in Palo Alto, California, and at the University of California, Berkeley.
Steven is a member of the American Institute of Architects, is licensed in California, and a leader in the local architectural community. He is past Chair of the East Bay AIA Events Committee where he focused his efforts on creating programs to showcase local architectural design, international development, and awareness of architecture within the community. He was also founder and Chair of the 2011 and 2012 Home Tours, East Bay Living. Steven holds a Bachelor of Architecture Degree from The Pennsylvania State University.
Tai joined Feldman Architecture in 2005, becoming an owner and partner in 2015. He brings over two decades of experience spanning a wide range of building types. Skilled in the craft of architecture, Tai approaches design with an artisanal mindset. “I grew up in Japan, where I learned to approach the discipline of architecture similarly to how one would approach a trade, much like woodworking or metalworking. Only through deep exploration of your craft do you become a master of your medium. My medium is shaping the experience of space.”
Clear communication and close collaboration with clients and craftspeople are the hallmarks of Tai’s work. Across all scales, whether a custom home or a corporate interior, his interest in the experience of space rewards close inspection. From the smallest detail to the largest gesture, both craft and the articulation of space are thoughtfully considered. Signature projects, including The Sanctuary, which weaves delicate and thoughtfully landscaped gardens and architecture into an urban context and a headquarters office space for an international venture capital firm in the Salesforce Tower in downtown San Francisco, balance functional needs with delight.
Embracing the importance of the design process, garnered through influential mentors during architecture school and in his years in the profession, Tai’s approach embraces the spirit of exploration. For Tai, “Design is a deliberate process that liberates ideas. Ideas without structure is chaos.” Intangibles including aspirations and dreams are combined with very real and specific programmatic needs and site conditions to yield a solution that encompasses both. Deliberately iterative in process, the built result is an expression of all that the design team, contractor, and client have invested.
His work can be found in numerous publications, both domestically and internationally, including The Wall Street Journal, Dwell, and Dezeen, among others. Projects that range from residences to commercial projects have received numerous awards representing consumer organizations and industry organizations, such the American Institute of Architects. He holds Master of Architecture and Bachelor of Architecture degrees from Tulane University. Tai is a registered architect in the state of California.
Chris, LEED GA, joined Feldman Architecture in 2011, becoming an owner and partner in 2015. With over 20 years of involvement in design and construction across a broad range of project types and scales, his work includes winery, hospitality, and master planning, with an emphasis on single-family custom homes. Chris is adept at realizing all aspects of a project, from the smallest detail to how a building interacts with its environment.
For Chris, “The investigative process provides a structure through which to explore ideas.” His rigorous approach to design supports a dynamic exploration—a merger of art and science—where ideas are examined and carefully resolved to express the fundamental qualities of context and client need. By bringing these two sides of the puzzle together, the solution is grounded yet provides a base for intangible explorations. “The value of a defined process is ultimately to ensure that conceptual ideas result in client-driven, human-centered spaces that are appropriate to their context.”
His work eschews fashion, instead striving for design solutions that aspire to stand the test of time—balancing pragmatism and delight. Signature projects include Woodpecker Ranch, a Woodside Estate, unifying a modern farmhouse exterior and a mid-century modern interior; the Tierwelthaus, which transforms a 1990s ranch house into a modern, maintenance-friendly residence that opens to the hills of Silicon Valley; and a new house and surf shed compound on a cliff, overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Santa Cruz.
Chris leads a number of office initiatives, including staff mentoring and continuing to evolve the firm’s Marketing and Communication endeavors. His award-winning work can be found in numerous publications, both domestically and internationally, including Dwell, Luxe, AD, and Elle Decor, among others. Chris holds degrees in Building Sciences and Architecture from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, and is LEED accredited.
(Text as submitted by the Architects)
Feldman Architecture is an innovative residential and commercial design practice recognized for creating warm, light-filled spaces that are site-sensitive and carefully detailed. Highly collaborative in nature, the firm approaches design as a dialogue between client, design team and site. Each project is an opportunity to create an innovative solution that is relevant to the project environs and tailored to a clients’ specific needs.
The studio’s culture is also informal and non-hierarchical; members of the small firm work with clients in an engaging, shared process to find smart and sustainable solutions. Closely guiding projects from design through construction, designers and project managers are deeply involved in research and probing the parameters of a project. Strong alliances with consultants, builders and artisans contribute to carefully informed design decisions and result in fully realized projects with conceptual clarity and precise detailing.Read More: Feldman Architecture | San Francisco | California | USA