The second studio podcast: Interview with Jonathan Feldman
The Second Studio (formerly The Midnight Charette) is an explicit podcast about design, architecture and everyday life. Hosted by architects David Lee and Marina Bourderonnet, it features diverse creative professionals in unplanned talks that allow for thoughtful shots and face-to-face discussions.
A wide variety of topics are treated with honesty and humor: some episodes are interviews, others tips for fellow designers, reviews of buildings and other projects, or casual explorations of everyday life and design. The Second Studio is also available on iTunes, Spotify and YouTube.
This week, David and Marina are joined by Jonathan Feldman, architect and founding partner and CEO of Feldman Architecture, to talk about studying astronomy and English before studying architecture; onboarding new clients; the beginnings and development of his office; Key ideas for the implementation of sustainable design; and more.
Highlights & Timestamps
Jonathan’s background (00:00)
The Feldman Architecture Studio Process (13:49)
In this world where everyone has so much access to images online, so many people gravitate towards the final solution that pleases them and resonates. For me, that can be very dangerous… getting too attached too soon. We want to be very vague and open minded as much as possible. We want to be a blank slate when we go into a project and just listen and observe the client, the program and of course the context. (14:38)
The Process of Screening Clients (16:17)
Finding the client that is compatible for me is the crucial talent and ability to survive in my world. So, “How do you have conversations and find people to agree with, both on the values of what you want to create and whether you think it’s appropriate and exciting?” Projects are something in that you will put so much energy into it. [You do not want to] Bumping heads or trying to change their minds or turn them into a different person during the process because that will not satisfy anyone. (16:38)
How Jonathan went to architecture school. (38:12)
Jonathan’s experiences after graduation and his first architectural project. (50:45)
I generally believe that you learn more from doing things than sitting around talking about them or doing theoretical exercises. It was a very hands-on experience doing those early projects like my parents’ house. It really allowed me to understand things that were popped into my head in grad school but had no idea how useful it would be later on. At the same time, I would say that the technical education I received at architecture school was fairly easy. (58:18)
How Jonathan started his own practice. (01:00:50)
How the office has evolved over time. (01:03:23)
There’s just a lot that falls on an architect’s shoulders on a project, and you know, I’ve always been the person with the big idea… All of that was always kind of scary and I always felt a bit like a con artist. It was just very comforting, very empowering, to recruit people who were really good at these things. (01:04:21)
Implement sustainable design. (01:25:55)
Whatever commitment you can get the customer to make [regarding sustainable design]. Is a good thing. don’t judge it Just take it because it’s an encore. It’s a better version of the process if we all engage because those things fall by the wayside when things get stressful. (1:41:37)