Designer Friday: An ASPIRE Exclusive Interview With Thomas A. Kligerman

After spending time both in France and England as a student, Thomas A. Kligerman developed his interest and love for architecture, gardens, and landscape. Fast forward with the same amount of passion, Tom’s unique take on architecture can be seen throughout many different places such as Martha’s Vineyard, Rhode Island, and even in Cabo San Lucas. With co-founder of Ike Kligerman Barkley, John Ike, the pair have been awarded the ICAA Julia Morgan Award and the ICAA Stanford White Award, as well as participating in the AD100 since 1995. Please help me introduce this week’s Designer Friday, Tom Kligerman.

This is the exterior architecture of the Dunes Guest House, overlooking a breathtaking view of the ocean tide and sand dunes. Photo by Eric Piasecki.

Andrew Joseph: How do you maintain a work/life balance?
Tom Kligerman: I don’t worry about work/life balance – I wake up thinking about architecture, think about it all day and go to sleep and then dream about it. I guess my work is my life.

Andrew: What modern design trend makes you cringe?
Tom: Mid-Century Modern.

Andrew: What’s your favorite time of day?
Tom: 5AM or 7PM – the quiet peaceful times before the day starts and after it ends. The glancing golden light brings out beautiful colors and shadows.

Andrew: What are three things you can’t live without?
Tom: My titanium road bike, an italic fountain pen, and Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey.

Andrew: What’s one ingredient you put in everything?
Tom: Garlic.

Andrew: What’s your biggest fear in life?
Tom: Going blind – I hate to dwell on unhappy things, but I often wonder what I would do. I think of Beethoven writing music after going deaf. Or Charles McKim dictating building profiles to his draftsmen. Maybe I would try to write music…?

Pictured here is the Watch Hill Aerie found on a peninsula in Rhode Island. It’s covered in Alaskan yellow-cedar shingles and has windows that extend from the floor to the ceiling, allowing tons of natural light. Photo by William Waldron.

Andrew: Favorite app?
Tom: Instagram @tomkligerman.

Andrew: If you had one more hour in the day what would you do with it?
Tom: Meditate.

Andrew: A book that everyone should read?
Tom: The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro.

Andrew: Best gift you’ve ever received?
Tom: My daughters.

Andrew: Best gift you’ve ever given?
Tom: My daughters.

Andrew: You are stuck on an island, you can pick one food to eat forever without getting tired of it, what would you eat?
Tom: Ice Cream – pretty much anything by Hagen Das or Ben & Jerry’s. I worry about where this sweet tooth came from. I can down a pint, no problem.

Andrew: A skill you’re working on mastering?
Tom: Water coloring.

With inspiration drawn from Mexican artistic heritage, you can find amazing elements throughout this Beach Retreat. From bold colors and amazing use of lines, the architecture of this house makes you want to stay on vacation forever. Photo by Peter Aaron OTTO.

Andrew: Favorite scent?
Tom: Shalimar.

Andrew: If you made a documentary, what would it be about?
Tom: American Houses – the range and variety of American home design is unlike anywhere else in the world. There are influences from across the globe but also indigenous. It’s a universe of beauty.

Andrew: Sweet or savory?
Tom: Savory.

Andrew: If you could switch lives with someone for a day who would it be?
Tom: Stanford White- my favorite period in New York history coincides with White’s life (1853-1906) I would love to walk around New York in 1900 and see the city before there were any buildings taller than the Flatiron. And it would be great to see his offices and meet Charles McKim.

About The Designer | Thomas A. Kligerman was raised in Connecticut and New Mexico, and spent years in France and England as a student. These experiences sparked his interest in the rich history of domestic architecture, gardens and landscapes. Before co-founding Ike Kligerman Barkley, Tom worked for Robert A. M. Stern Architects and received his Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University and his Master of Architecture from Yale School of Architecture. He is passionate about the design process, and loves studying and creating architectural models. He serves on the boards of a number of charitable and educational institutions. Tom and his family enjoy summer weekends racing sailboats on the coast of Rhode Island.

Andrew Joseph is a regular contributing editor for ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME magazine. See more of his work here

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