February 7, 2016
Q&A with the Architects of Ike Kligerman Barkley
The three partners behind Ike Kligerman Barkley talk about their new book 'The New Shingled House,' authenticity in design, and what they are working on now.
by New York Spaces
NYS: What is your firm, Ike Kligerman Barkley known for?
IKB: Great Houses: elegant, varied, appropriate... and sometimes daring.
NYS: What brought the three partners together 25 years ago when you first formed your firm?
John: Tom and I met at Columbia and we were colleagues at Bob Stern's office, we joined up shortly after leaving there and Joel joined us 10 years later.
Tom: We all have a shared love of beautiful houses from the medieval to the modern, that's the one thing that has tied us together through these 25 years
Joel: I just wanted to do renderings for their projects and then I never left
NYS: What would you say each of you brings to the table in terms of a point of view in relation to design?
Tom: In practical sense, John always knows where to go for manufacturers—he can tell you the perfect fixture and where to find it. In design, he loves eccentric design—the zanier the better. When I'm stuck I go to Joel for broad gesture. Roof lines, big picture.
Joel: While using his encyclopedic knowledge of architectural history, Tom always finds the delight.
NYS: How does having offices in both New York and San Francisco influence your process? Does one city's style carry over to the other in subtle ways? If so, how?
Joel: We have one office with two addresses
Tom: I have embraced San Francisco's & Silicon Valley's culture of technology and how to blend it with more traditional ways of working; older ways of modeling—virtual modeling with pencil perspectives for example
John: West influences east and east influences west. It's great to be on the ground there and be around such good examples of shingle style like Coxhead, Maybeck etc...
NYS: What made your firm's partners decide to write The New Shingled House?
Joel: Our first book was not focused on one style, it was about the broad array of the styles we work in, and you can say it was somewhat schizophrenic. And the funny thing about this book is that it's also wildly varied—within this one style—and it's the Shingle Style that allows for such variation.
John: We have a significant body of shingle style work and it seemed a timely subject that addressed a contemporary topic. While familiar, it allows for experimentation
NYS: What does a shingled house represent to you?
Tom: It's what we think of when we say, "home".
John: And also, authenticity, it's something we care about. For me, it means something's not forced, not contrived —and the shingle style is a good example of that. In architecture that has a lot to do with materials and knowledge of how to use those materials in their best application.
Joel: They have a character that makes them something more than a shingle-style home. The clients and locales and what you absorb in the work.
NYS: Over the past 25 years, your firm has built dozens of shingled houses. What has changed in your designs from the shingled-style houses that have inspired you along the way?
John: The biggest change is that the interiors reflect a contemporary sensibility about light and texture and open spaces.
Tom: More and more I have looked to the bold moves in early shingle style houses—the clean lines from 1880s rather than the fussy Victorian detailing.
NYS: Were there certain architects' works that you most admire in their approach to building shingled-style houses?
IKB: Coxhead, Maybeck, Bruce Goff. McKim Mead & White—there's always something new in their work.
NYS: How many houses do you feature in the book and what are some of the locations?
IKB: 14 houses, scattered across the Hamptons, Martha's Vineyard, the Carolinas, California, Rhode Island, Nantucket, California, etc.
NYS: Do you all have one in particular that you gravitate to? If so, which one/s?
IKB: That's like asking which child is your favorite—they all are.
NYS: We understand a former home of John Ike is included in the book. What is a particularly interesting aspect of his home?
IKB: Its shingle style turned inside out. The big room capitalizes on the California climate and becomes truly an indoor outdoor space.
NYS: Where can we find it?
IKB: Point Loma Casita in San Diego.
NYS: Can we expect another book on the firm's work? If so, what would the subject be and when can we expect it to be published?
IKB: We are at work on two more, one on Joel's watercolors—the other too early to reveal so please stay tuned.
The architects behind Ike Kilgerman Barkley will be at Rizzoli Bookstore on February 18, 2016 to discuss their book, "The New Shingled House" and participate in a Panel Discussion moderated by interior designer Alexa Hampton. The event begins at 6:00 p.m. at 1133 Broadway, NYC 10010. Rsvp@ikekligermanbarkley.com.
*Interested in more articles like this? Sign up for our Newsletter!