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My Process

Sustainable Design

Sonja Feinberg Pacific University 2017 B.A. Environmental Studies: Sustainable Design

Draft & Plan

Top left Elevation Views of Birdhouse September 2016

Bottom left Different Views of a Stapler September 2016

Top right Cut Sheet for Birdhouse September 2016

Drafts done at the Yestermorrow Design/Build School. The bottom left is a practice in observational drawing; the other two are plans for a birdhouse I built as an introduction to the Design/Build process. The materials for the Birdhouse were limited to one 4' x 8' sheet of plywood, wood glue, and nails.

Nature Understand

Know the Material Materials

Senior Capstone Project (Presentation Slide) – December 2016: I evaluated many of the materials I had worked with at the Yestermorrow Design/Build school against my own definition of sustainability. My assessment included researching the production of the materials, their Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) levels, functionality, toxicity to the environment, and their recyclability. I chose to focus on materials because I believe that highly productive, environmentally-friendly materials are key in sustainable Design/Build. I presented my research and my definition of sustainable architecture in a 25 minute PowerPoint given to professors and students in the Sustainable Design department at Pacific University.



Fiber Cement Eastern White Pine

Draft RenderSculpt & Detail

Top left Library Proposal September 2015


Bottom left Painted Ceramic Tiles September 2016

Top right Xboxes in Library September 2015

Renders were done in SketchUp as proposals for the project at Yestermorrow. Our client requested a study space with movable furniture and numerous shelves. The “Xboxes� (top right) are easily fabricated wooden boxes that can serve as chairs, tables, and table legs. The painted tiles were done with handmade stencils and underglaze on ceramic tiles. The tiles were created with the intent to explore space, color, and symmetry on two dimensional surfaces.

Shape Materials

“For Us” Self Portrait Hand Drawn in Clay 6' x 4‘: December 2016: I do not exist outside of nature. When asked to draw a self-portrait, this intrinsic fact bled through every iteration. Clay is used as the base, burnt wood for the smoke, blue glass for the river, and scrap metal for the factory. This framed landscape serves as a reminder that how we feel about nature is merely a reflection of how we feel about ourselves. The fragments of mirror express that it is not nature that is calming, scary, or dying – but it is us who are seeking comfort, fearful, and exploiting.

Draft Shape

Top left Stampede November 2016

Top right Vessel Series 2016


Bottom right Steampunk Teapot December 2014

Working with clay has taught me the importance of a creative process that explores multiple iterations and utilizes meticulous detail. The Vessel Project (top right) was an exploration of using a basic shape to convey multiple different emotions. Each vessel is meant to hold a different sentiment: vulnerability (the heart), rage (the wave), and love (the thorns).


Incorporate Humans

Humans & The Environment Nature


“Our Own Ecosystem� Spring 2016 In my Sustainable Design course, we were challenged to design a new outdoor learning space for Pacific University's Early Learning Center. The space is approximately 50' x 100' and is intended for children ages 5-10 to enjoy outdoor exploration and education. My proposal focuses on ecological succession as a means to teach children about the natural progression of ecosystems and how humans impact these systems. The water pump limits how much water the children may send to the sand area a day, which serves as a practice in conserving and distributing resources.


“The Quiet Coyote� – Yestermorrow Semester Program 2015: For the Yestermorrow School of Design/Build semester program I was a part of 15 students and three instructors that designed and built a 750 sq. ft. house for a client over the course of four months. Part of the building serves as a library and the other side is a private residence that includes a full kitchen and bedroom/living room space. There are also two bathrooms and an entryway space. We built the structure with a commitment to sustainability, particularly in decisions regarding materials. Both the designing and building were intensified processes due to the time constraint, and I was able to cultivate a variety of skills in these areas, which I am excited to apply in future works.


Top left Cabinet Proposal in Sketch Up Fall 2015

Top right Quiet Coyote Kitchen Fall 2015

Bottom right My Studio Fall 2016

Cabinets (top) were made by me and one other Yestermorrow student (Emma Sutton) for our client’s kitchen. I built the shelves (bottom right) from scrap material in Pacific University's Wood Shop in order to create my own studio space for the semester. Woodworking has become an exciting new practice for me in the Design/Build world.


“Hill House” – October 2016 (Sonja Feinberg, Jessica Brady, & Yooh Suh Park): In a Creative Process course at

Pacific University, groups of three students were given eight ¾'' x 3½'' x 10' planks of cedar, a 16' x 16' plastic tarp that could not be torn or altered, and unlimited twine and scrap wood. With these materials alone we had to construct shelters on campus to spend a particularly windy and rainy night in. My group utilized the flexibility of the cedar and relied on a variety of twine knots to connect the boards, tarps, and stakes made of scrap wood. We remained warm and dry the entire night.

Community Engagement

“Ask Me Anything” October 2016: In my Creative Process course at Pacific University I was asked to identify a social problem on campus, and then create a solution. I chose to address the lack of connection Pacific members extend beyond their own social circles. My solution was to set up a cozy “living room” environment on the patio of the University Center building with a sign that read “Ask me anything.” Anyone who wanted could sit down and ask a question, which I had to answer in complete honesty. In return, I was able to ask them a question. For the six hours I was on the patio I was never once alone, and many engrossing conversations were held amongst community members who were previously strangers.

Sonja Feinberg Portfolio - Reloaded  
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