Our work is as concerned with informal strategies of composition as it is with formal ones. The formal strategies we employ address the world idealized; the informal strategies address the world as we find it. The vernacular is our source of inspiration for adaptive informal strategies. It is the street language of architecture. It rewrites formal intentions to adapt to immediate circumstances. Circumstantial architecture alternatively accepts and manipulates the chance conditions that define the architectural situation. We begin each design with a formal strategy that we in turn "remodel", conceptually, to adapt to the givens of the site and client. Our aesthetic is circumstantial and our method improvisational.
Professor Fernau's California architectural projects include The Napa Valley Museum, Yountville; The Disney Channel interiors, Burbank; Westcott/Lahar Residence, Bolinas; fX Cable Headquarters, Los Angeles; Strybing Arboretum master plan & education wing, San Francisco; Evergreen Community College, San Jose; Student Center, UC Santa Cruz; Cheesecake Consortium Co-Housing, Philo; The Tipping Building, Berkeley, and several residences. Architectural projects in other states include the Nickelodeon Headquarters in New York, Avis Residence restoration in Montana, the Caperton Residence in West Virginia, and the Teller/Weill Residence in Massachusetts. Projects have been published extensively in journals such as Global Architecture, New York Times Magazine, Architectural Record, and Architecture. His firm, Fernau & Hartman Architects, Inc., was recently profiled in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Numerous lectures and exhibits, including Architecture League's "Emerging Voices" in NYC, "Equal Partners" at Smith College, Northampton, and GA HousesProject 1999, Tokyo. Recipient of numerous awards including several American Woods Council Awards, AIA and CCAIA Awards of Honor, Record Interiors and Record House Awards, Progressive Architecture Citation, Winner of the Napa Valley Museum Competition, and Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. Teaching includes design studio and seminars in theory and thesis preparation.