The Bookshelf: “Improvisations On The Land: Houses Of Fernau + Hartman”Author:Katherine Nelson
Architects Fernau + Hartman pioneered “green design” long before it was buzzworthy. Founded in 1981, the Bay Area firm is the subject of a new monograph from The Monacelli Press that incudes eighteen of Fernau + Hartman’s light-filled, climate-reponsive residences. From Napa Valley to Newport Beach, many of these projects are located in California and, as showcased by this beautiful volume, they demonstrate the transformative power of region- and site-specific architecture.
Fernau + Hartman looks to vernacular building traditions, not to recreate the past but to plan for the future, uncovering hints on adaptive strategies and sustainability. For Fernau + Hartman, place is all powerful, whether that place be a live/work storefront in a small town in Montana or a communal living, retirement compound in Northern California.
What could-be a straight-forward, chronologically organized monograph entices readers with brief, accessible essays by Daniel P. Gregory, Beth Dunlop and Thomas Fisher and others. Additionally, the illustrations feature models, sketches, floor and site plans and photos of vernacular buildings, which weave a layered and nuanced narrative. This is a rich story about one of our most revered Bay Area practices, whose influence is felt way beyond state boundaries. As Daniel P. Gregory writes in his Afterward, “Radically regional is both a way to belong and [a way] to go beyond.” Grab your copy here.
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