Parma's Teatro Farnese

by Thomas A. Kligerman

My recent trip to Italy led me to the city of Parma, as I retraced portions of Sir John Soane’s Grand Tour (1778-80)... He had two years to do it- I barely had two months! While I was in Parma, I came upon a massive and looming building at the edge of the Parma River. Nothing on its exterior prepared me for what ... Read More


American Academy in Rome

by Thomas A. Kligerman

So I am heading to Rome. Looking up at the Pantheon to the 27 ft diameter oculus. The American Academy will be my home for the next six weeks where I will be a Visiting Scholar. The sabbatical will afford me the time to pursue a number of things besides time to reflect.  Coffers in the dome of the Pantheon. T... Read More


A Tale of Two Houses; London and Paris

by Thomas A. Kligerman

Humans invent things--it's just the way we are.  We use new technologies all they time and they open up new possibilities and things we haven't considered before. Soane's house on Lincoln's Inn Fields. But sometimes our ideas outstrip available technology, and solutions to new ideas are found with previous ge... Read More


Watch Hill Aerie

by Thomas A. Kligerman

 Ever since I was ten years old, I have spent nearly every summer in a small oceanside town in New England. Set on a point of land that juts out into the Atlantic, it is dotted with simple shingle cottages, many built in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Despite the passage of time, those cottages have never l... Read More



by Thomas A. Kligerman

After a summer of constantly being away or traveling for work, when Labor Day rolled around I decided to stay home and have a New York staycation. Kykuit as you arrive by carriage. The shallow steps at the porch are designed for easy exit from your horse drawn brougham.We visited places that had been on the bucket list... Read More


New York Public Library

by Thomas A. Kligerman

As a follow up to my journal on the Boston Public Library by McKim Mead & White, today I stopped by the New York Public Library right in our own neighborhood on 42nd street.  The New York Public Library from 5th Avenue.The two libraries have a lot in common.  Both Beaux Arts Symmetrical buildings built around ... Read More


Boston Public Library

by Thomas A. Kligerman

View of the Boston Public Library from across Copley Square. My back is to H.H. Richardson's Trinity Church... but that's another story. The other week I had the opportunity to spend a day in the Boston Public Library.  I hadn't been there since I was an architecture student longer ago than I care to remember.The ... Read More



by Thomas A. Kligerman

Nantucket has been top of mind lately, as John Ike, Joel Barkley and I are heading out there Tuesday morning to take part in all the Nantucket by Design festivities. I grew up in New England and I love going to the island to see all the great buildings, in fact I've even be lucky enough to design some. Nantucket, ... Read More


Wooden Boats Revisited

by Thomas A. Kligerman

They engage all five senses.  Visually, of course—rare is the straight line on a boat.  Surfaces dip and twist in multiple directions.  The sheer (the curve of the deck along the length of the boat) and the way the hull falls away are ever-changing making these boats true sculpture—different from every an... Read More


10 Days in Japan

by Thomas A. Kligerman

John and I just got back from an incredible trip to Japan with the Sir John Soane's Museum Foundation.  View of a house sitting on a moat in the Palace Gardens in Tokyo.The focus was architecture, art and culture. Neon night--after dinner stroll in the Roppongi Hills neighborhood in Tokyo.We started in Tokyo,... Read More


Villa Savoye

by Thomas A. Kligerman

Une maison est une machine-à-habiter.  Le Corbusier famously said that houses were machines made for living. He wondered, why should houses look so traditional when we live in the Machine Age? His Villa Savoye is a stunning example of this philosophy.The villa was built in 1929, during an age ripe with innovation. Loc... Read More


From the Library: An Architecture Book in time for Easter Weekend

by Thomas A. Kligerman

It’s so important to remember to look up. To me the most important part of a building is the ceiling and there’s rarely been a book on ceilings as beautiful as David Stephenson’s Visions of Heaven: The Dome in European Architecture published by Princeton Architectural Press, 2005.  Following his firs... Read More


A Cuban Moment

by Thomas A. Kligerman

Over the holiday break, I went on a Sir John Soane's Museum Foundation trip to Cuba with a dozen friends to look at art and architecture. Since my last visit four years ago, things have change subtly. The art scene is exploding, there are more restaurants and the food has improved.  Apart from that, however, not much h... Read More


A Shingle Style Pilgrimage in Newport: Stanford White's Isaac Bell House

by Thomas A. Kligerman

As an architect from the northeast who often designs in the shingle style, I have long been fascinated with the shingle style homes that dot New England towns. Courtesy of The Preservation Society of Newport County. I’ve written before on The Journal about my fondness for these residences, but there are so... Read More


My Window with André: Working with André Leon Talley at Rizzoli

by Thomas A. Kligerman

I recently had the opportunity to work side by side with the famous André Leon Talley, while he was creating the inaugural window display for the new Rizzoli bookstore on Broadway at 26th Street, and I was wrapping up the construction process at the space.As Talley notes in his article for Vogue, ... Read More


Soane's Bank of England: Back from the Wrecking Ball

by Thomas A. Kligerman

Sir John Soane's Bank of England, Tivoli Corner.New Yorkers are acutely aware of the destruction of McKim Mead & White's Pennsylvania Station.  The loss of New York's grandest train station and arguably its most important classical building has forever altered the way the city conceives of its historic landmarks.... Read More


Ferries of Long Island

by Thomas A. Kligerman

The best way to arrive anywhere is by water. And luckily for me, many of my projects are on the ocean or a beautiful lake. I have worked in the Hamptons, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Rhode Island not to mention Orcas Island, Cabo San Lucas and Maui.  There are others but working on th... Read More


Three Mesas

by Thomas A. Kligerman

Plateaus, tablelands, promontories. I grew up calling them mesas – the flat topped hills with steep ledges, set high above the rest of the landscape. A couple years in the Southwest solidified my interest in their strange forms, and as a kid who was fascinated by buildings, it helped that some of architecture’s oldest, ... Read More


Women Master Builders, Part Two: Marjorie Merriweather Post's Mar-A-Lago

by Thomas A. Kligerman

My last post on women master builders featured Doris Duke's paradisical Honolulu retreat, Shangri La. Just over a decade before Duke began on her compound, another female patron was putting together her own estate lying nearly 5,000 miles east. - Marjorie Merriweather Post’s Palm Beach pile, Mar-A-Lago. Another exotic nam... Read More


Penn Station: New York's Ultimate TBT

by Thomas A. Kligerman

The oft-told tale. In 1963 McKim Mead & White's great train station, rivaling (and copying) imperial Roman buildings, is torn down only to be replaced by a building that could most kindly be called banal. On this Thursday - another "throwback Thursday," if you will - I thought I would explore the story of the struc... Read More


Costume Change: Dressing up a favorite Lutyens house

by Thomas A. Kligerman

This past weekend I was in London. While walking back from a visit to the Sir John Soane's Museum, I passed a small building by the great Edwardian architect, Edwin Landseer Lutyens.(He was named for the painter and sculptor, Edwin Landseer, who perhaps most famously sculpted the lions in Trafalgar Square.) The buil... Read More


Guess who's coming to dinner (Or, some thoughts on Stanford White)

by Thomas A. Kligerman

You can have dinner with three famous people, dead or alive. Who would you choose? For as long as I can remember, I’ve answered that one of my guests would be Stanford White. White was an absolutely brilliant architect, delineator, artist; he was a designer-of-all-things, with seemingly infinite creativity. He was al... Read More


Glass Houses: Conservatories Near and Far

by Thomas A. Kligerman

Madrid's Palacio de Cristal, of 1887.  I’m currently working on a conservatory for one of my projects. It’s a fun thing to design, especially on the cold, dreary days that make you miss the sunny, verdant ones of summer. Conservatory design spread in the Victorian era, when parks and patrons commissi... Read More


All that Glitters

by Thomas A. Kligerman

For a project to go well, an architect needs to understand a lot of different professions: contractor, lighting designer, interior decorator, mason, and more. But these last couple months I’ve found myself trying to understand a more unfamiliar role – Director. With another kind of "Director" - SFFAS Director Arian... Read More


The Rainbow Room Lives On

by Thomas A. Kligerman

At the end of this month, the quintessentially New York Rainbow Room will open its doors again. (It closed in 2009 following the financial crisis.) Originally opening on October 3, 1934, it will be just a few days shy of its 80th birthday. There’s no place quite like it in the city. The space is glamorously Deco. The... Read More


Behind the Scenes: An Architectural Photo Shoot

by Thomas A. Kligerman

So what goes on at a photoshoot? The short answer: a lot. I’ve been asked this question many times before, and now seems a good time to answer it in full, as we finish up shooting houses before the days get shorter and the leaves start to fall. From left to right, Aaron Binaco, Anita Sarsidi, Alyssa Urban, William Wa... Read More


The Weekapaug Chapel

by Thomas A. Kligerman

Summers in Weekapaug start at the chapel.  People congregate at the simple, white stucco building at the back of a slightly rolling lawn with typical New England coast boulders (erratics) popping through the grass. This first gathering of the season is the Blessing of the Fleet, a service centered on the sea. We assemb... Read More


Frunk and Trunk: A Tale of the Tesla

by Thomas A. Kligerman

 Google's driver-less car. (Really?)Mobility has always been a source of fascination to those looking toward the future. Walt Disney, designing the original EPCOT (the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow), had a monorail connecting all parts of the entertainment empire, along with the WEDWay PeopleMover, a sor... Read More


Fire in Glasgow

by Thomas A. Kligerman

Last week, the iconic Glasgow School of Art in Scotland fell victim to a fire that started in the basement and leapt up to the glass atrium on the top floor.  The building was a landmark for designers, students, and the architecturally curious the world over – and luckily, it seems it will continue to be that. Ther... Read More


Buenos Aires, Scotland: the Estancia Villa Maria

by Thomas A. Kligerman

Back in cold and rainy New York, it’s strange to think that only a couple days ago I was in sunny Buenos Aires for the annual Leaders of Design Council conference.But traveling North-South will do that to you. After an eleven hour flight, the timezone only changes one hour, but the season changes completely (and so does t... Read More


Bungalow Heaven

by Thomas A. Kligerman

Walk around for a while in any American town, and you’ll probably find a bungalow. Or should I say you’ll probably find a bunch, clustered together, unassuming, petite. They’re a staple of American residential architecture that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately - partly because there are so many to think about!S... Read More


Architect of City and Country, Skyscraper and Suburb

by Thomas A. Kligerman

It seems an Ike Kligerman Barkley tradition to think about Frank Lloyd Wright on National Holidays. I continued it this President’s Day by paying a short visit to the exhibition dedicated to – as Joel wrote on the Fourth of July – “Our American Architect.”  “Frank Lloyd Wright and the City: Density vs. Disp... Read More


Women Master Builders, Part I: Doris Duke and Shangri La

by Thomas A. Kligerman

The raw cold of this January has my mind straying to warmer climes (I'm not the only one). But as I jump between thoughts of Palm Beach and the Bahamas, Los Angeles and Aruba, I keep coming back to a white washed compound on a bluff overlooking the Pacific.Mughal suite with stairs leading to the Jai Pavilion.Shangri La, as ... Read More


A Cozy Red House

by Thomas A. Kligerman

English architecture always seems to say “home” to me, no matter where it might be located. I get the feeling from small thatch roofed cottages and from Sir John Soane’s labrynthian townhouse – if only I could actually call that home. But perhaps the “homiest” feeling I get is from houses of the Arts and Crafts ... Read More


All the Houses Fit to Print

by Thomas A. Kligerman

A sharpie, a sketchpad, and a wide array of magic markers; a compass and a computer (with CAD or Revit or Rhino); a good library, a good drafting table, good natural light. And generally a large cup of coffee.I’ve been thinking what’s in an architect’s “toolkit” these days, particularly after a visit to Columbia U... Read More


For the Record

by Thomas A. Kligerman

The Ike Kligerman Barkley archive seeps out of all corners of our office, and beyond. Large plans are rolled up or stacked in flat files; hand rendered drawings are framed on walls; models in basswood, painted plastic, cardboard and plasticine adorn filing cabinets or open bookshelves. We also have a separate storage site t... Read More


President by Day, Architect by Night

by Thomas A. Kligerman

Thomas Jefferson: great president, innovative thinker, fantastic writer, but last week, I was reminded just how good of an architect he was.I was struck by it time and time again while on a Leaders of Design Council trip to the rolling blue-green hills that surround Charlottesville, Virginia. Our group visited four of Jeffe... Read More


No Guts, No Glory

by Thomas A. Kligerman

This guest post was written by Chris Lucas, architect at Ike Kligerman Barkley. No guts, no glory. It’s a common phrase in sports, but in the architecture world it takes on different meaning: the “glory” of a finished project would be nothing if not for its “guts” – the fundamental systems that lie behind a... Read More


'Tis a Gift to Be Simple

by Thomas A. Kligerman

Last week, on a trip to Los Angeles with John Ike, John Toya, and Joel Barkley, I found a free moment to visit the Schindler Chace House in West Hollywood. The diminutive home sits on a geometrically terraced lot concealed from the street by a scrim of bamboo and flanked by recently built apartment blocks. This small, ... Read More


Twin Gables: A Lifelong Obsession

by Thomas A. Kligerman

For years I've spent my summers in a small New England oceanfront town. It is dotted with simple shingle style cottages, many which were built before the turn of the last century. Since my first decade of life, they've remained prominent in my memory. I love so many of them, but I’m particularly obsessed with a select few... Read More


In Deep (or Shallow) Water

by Thomas A. Kligerman

Water is the great human mesmerizer. Perhaps it’s because somewhere, a million generations back, our forebearers emerged from the ocean - or perhaps it's that we're in the middle of a heat wave. Either way, whether it’s the sight of a fountain, the roll of breakers on a beach, or the sound of a nearby stream, water hold... Read More


Everything you always wanted to know about Citi Bike*

by Thomas A. Kligerman

*But were afraid to askAllow me to throw my hat into the cacophonous ring that is the launch of New York City’s bike share program, Citi Bike.To put it simply, I’m a huge fan. Never have I enjoyed going to the office so much - bringing my helmet from home and getting a bike from a docking station next to the train or pa... Read More


On Sir John Soane

by Thomas A. Kligerman

A portrait of Sir John Soane hangs in the Museum's dining room. Courtesy Sir John Soane's Museum.Next Tuesday, May 14th, we’ll be celebrating the legacy of Sir John Soane at the Sir John Soane’s Museum Foundation’s annual gala. This year we’re honoring Norman Foster, Lord Foster of Thames Bank OM, and the Museum of ... Read More


A Rainy Day, and a Light-Filled Labrouste Exhibition

by Thomas A. Kligerman

Last week, I took a mid-afternoon trip to the Museum of Modern Art to see the long anticipated and highly praised exhibition Henri Labrouste: Structure Brought to Light. Curated by Barry Bergdoll, it’s the the 19th century French architect’s first solo exhibition in the United States, and a deserved one at that.The hall... Read More


Dispatch from Berlin: The Altes Museum

by Thomas A. Kligerman

John Ike and I are currently in Berlin, attending the Leaders of Design Council's annual conference. Between talks and site visits, I couldn't help but sneak in a couple hours at the Altes Museum, a building I consider to be one of Karl Friedrich Schinkel's greatest works. The structure, located on Berlin's Museum Island, w... Read More


Giving Back

by Thomas A. Kligerman

One evening in late April, I found myself harmonizing alongside Keith and Chippy Irvine at the Sir John Soane Museum Gala. The iconic Rainbow Room was packed with men in tails and women in gowns as far as the eye could see.Together we warbled a rollicking tune Chippy had composed after a Cole Porter song. (It went something... Read More


Model Seduction

by Thomas A. Kligerman

IKB's Rocky Mountain House in basswoodWhen visitors come to our office, they all stop to ponder the models on display. No matter how much time you’ve spent looking at them—as a first year architecture intern, a 30 year veteran, or a prospective client—a building in miniature, a model, is always seductive. Even a bad b... Read More


Books: The IKB Library.

by Thomas A. Kligerman

One of life's greatest pleasures is being surrounded by books--the more, the better.  At IKB, we have been building a library since we founded our office. A single shelf-full along the back wall of a tiny office shared by John Ike and me our first year in business, the library has grown steadily to thousands of volumes... Read More


Barrier Free Is No Barrier to Design

by Thomas A. Kligerman

So, in early October, while at a Santa Fe, New Mexico conference hosted by the Leaders of Design Council, I injured my knee.  Surgery followed and then crutches, a cane and now, twelve weeks of physical therapy.  It has been tough to get around!  Climbing stairs is a challenge—forget about going back down.&... Read More


Dispatch from Santa Fe: The Elegant Adobe

by Thomas A. Kligerman

Despite my East Coast Brooks Brothers appearance I can eat the hottest red or green chili with the best of them, having spent my high school years living in New Mexico in the 1970s.  Being a typical teen drag racing my hopped up ‘68 Dodge Charger RT on Albuquerque’s south side didn’t stop me from being drawn to t... Read More


Architecture and The Art of Drawing

by Thomas A. Kligerman

What has happened to the art of drawing?  The computer, a powerful, necessary and seductive tool in the design process, has taken over the way architects work much the way video games have enraptured kids who used to read or ride bicycles.Michael Graves’ New York Times September 2nd opinion piece on the importance of... Read More


Martini Spoken Here

by Thomas A. Kligerman

—or nearly anywhere as far as I’m concerned.  The simplest, noblest and most elegant of cocktails, the martini literally stands above all others—Fred Astaire among dancers.  Allegedly invented in 1911 by Knickerbocker Hotel bartender Martini di Arma di Taggia, the martini has undergone refinement upon refine... Read More


Wooden Boats

by Thomas A. Kligerman

They engage all five senses.  Visually, of course—rare is the straight line on a boat.  Surfaces dip and twist in multiple directions.  The sheer (the curve of the deck along the length of the boat) and the way the hull falls away are ever-changing making these boats true sculpture—different from every an... Read More


Good Eats

by Thomas A. Kligerman

Boiled peanuts, dark chocolate mousse cake and New England clam chowder are just some of the things you can grab while on a site visit to one of our projects.  A satisfying benefit of working all across the US of A has nothing to do with architecture, but with ways to recharge by taking a few minutes for some great gru... Read More


Shingle Style

by Thomas A. Kligerman

If someone held a gun to my head and said that I could only design in one style, it would be the Shingle Style.  I love these gray, cedar-sheathed houses that populate America, especially those on the New England Coast.  My first book on architecture (age 9) was Vincent Scully's Shingle Style and, in addition to s... Read More



by Thomas A. Kligerman

I am obsessed with stonework. The one trade that I completely drive nuts is the masons; "tear it out, start over..." They are miserable during construction but always pleased when the dust finally clears. To get the best results I constantly have them ask themselves that if there were no m... Read More


Morocco Blue

by Thomas A. Kligerman

This April I spent six days with a group of architects, interior designers and other industry leaders visiting Morocco.  A beautiful, complex country full of so many inspiring things. One of many threads weaving through much of what one sees: blue, from dusty, dark and worn to brilliant cobalt.From the top: Essaou... Read More