The Studio’s Second Podcast: Interview with Jonathan Feldman

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The Studio’s Second Podcast: Interview with Jonathan Feldman

The Second Studio (formerly The Midnight Charette) is an explicit podcast about design, architecture and the everyday. Hosted by architects David Lee and Marina Bourderonnet, it features different creative professionals in unscripted conversations that allow for thoughtful shots and personal discussions.

A variety of topics are covered with honesty and humour: some episodes are interviews, while others are advice for other designers, reviews of buildings and other projects, or informal explorations of daily life and design. The second studio is also available on itunes, Spotifyand Youtube.

This week David and Marina are joined by Jonathan Feldman, architect and founding partner and CEO of Feldman Architecture to discuss the study of astronomy and English before architecture; take on new clients; the beginnings and evolution of his office; key ideas for implementing sustainable design; and more.

Highlights and timestamps


Jonathan’s past (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 this final solution that they love, that resonates. For me, it can be very dangerous for me…to be too attached to something too specific from the start. We want to be very vague and as wide open as possible. We want to be a blank slate for a project and just listen and observe the client, the program and the context, of course. (14:38)

The Client Selection Process (16:17)

Finding the right client for me is the decisive talent and survival skill in my world. So it’s “How do you have conversations and find people that you can align with both in terms of the values ​​of what you want to create and whether you think it’s appropriate and exciting?” Projects are something you’re going to put this huge amount of energy into. [You do not want to] banging their heads or trying to change their minds or turn them into a different person along the way because it will never be satisfying for anyone. (16:38)

How Jonathan went to architecture school. (38:12)

Jonathan’s experience after graduation and his first architectural project. (50:45)

I fundamentally believe that you learn more by doing things than by 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 had been on my mind during my graduate studies, but which I had no idea how useful it would be for me later. At the same time, I would say that the technical training I received in architecture school was quite light. (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 of things on an architect’s shoulders in a project, and you know, I’ve always been the person with the big ideas… But the rigor of the construction drawings, a set of construction document drawings, construction and attention to detail in tracking and all of that was still kind of scary and I still felt a bit like an impostor. So bringing in people who were really good at those things was just very comforting, very empowering. (01:04:21)

Implement sustainable design. (01:25:55)

Whatever commitment you can get the customer to make [regarding sustainable design]. This is a good thing. Don’t judge him. Just take it because it’s an addition. It’s a better version of the process if we all commit to it because these things fall by the wayside when things get stressful. (1:41:37)

Check out previous editions of The Second Studio Podcast.

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