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Personalized Spaces: Q&A with Chris Kurrle, Feldman Architecture

Whether a building itself or the objects with which you fill it, a space can become more than style – it can become lifestyle.

In this special Q&A with architect Chris Kurrle, of Feldman Architecture, a San Francisco-based firm, we discuss all the ways that our surroundings shape our lives through the shared power of original art and architecture.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and Feldman Architecture

I come from a family of architects; we are currently at nine and still growing. I joined the Feldman team in 2011 just as the firm really started to grow from a startup to the mature office we are today both in size and design. I’ve worked on civic projects, wineries, and hotels but have really found the most enjoyment in residential homes. Residential projects allow architects to work the most intimately with clients and consultants to really create personalized spaces that complement the lifestyles of their occupants.  Almost every item in our homes is custom, which gives us a really broad range of design opportunities and allows us to explore unique ways of creating unique lifestyles with each project.

Feldman Architecture is a residential and commercial design practice recognized for creating warm, light-filled spaces that are site-sensitive and carefully detailed. 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. 

2. How would you describe the architectural design aesthetic of Feldman Architecture? 

Some of the unifying elements in our work are our palettes both interior and exterior, our sensibility to the outdoors/landscape, tying those in to the architecture, and our emphasis on sustainable design.

However, our office is very collaborative so it’s hard to say we have a particular aesthetic. No one person in the office is designated as “the designer”.  Ultimately the design is done by a team, and because teams vary, so do the aesthetics of our projects.  Each project team, and often, the larger office, routinely participates in peer reviews as well.  We often joke that when we look at our own work, we can’t necessarily pin it as a Feldman project. 

3. Feldman Architecture emphasizes the ways that architecture and design can affect the lives of those who encounter it. At UGallery, we believe that art can do the same. What are some of the ways that one’s environment, with an eye on art, can affect a lifestyle or mindset? 

Like good architecture, good art should provide the person experiencing it with a strong emotional response.  The type of space art occupies, its color, scale, pattern, and medium, can all help complement this emotional response, setting or even choreographing the lifestyle or mindset. 

4. At UGallery, we believe that original art gives depth, character, and a story to every space. What does original art mean to you, and how does it play into the design process at Feldman? 

Original art has a uniqueness that for homes really helps to define the vibe of the spaces, while also hinting towards personalities of the owners. It can complement, or counterpoint, but its selection adds to the character of the building’s style.  Any one work of art can illicit different emotions in different viewers.  This individual experience is what makes art so personal……

5. If you could pick a single piece of artwork from UGallery to own, what would it be, and why?

I like the works of Gary Leonard. Peaceful is a really beautiful painting that is aptly named. The relative detail of the face, then the body, then a suggestive space around the figure… peaceful indeed.  Simple in color and composition, I could see this painting working well in any space of a home.

Special thanks to Chris Kurrle and Feldman Architecture!