Ross Padluck, Associate at Ike Kligerman Barkley, guest blogs this week. He is the author of Catskill Resorts: Lost Architecture of Paradise.
I’ve long been fascinated by the beauty and mystery of abandoned buildings. They’ve become a hobby of mine, and I’ve photographed and written extensively about them. One place that has captivated me more than any other is the long abandoned site of Grossinger’s Country Club in the Catskill Mountains. Particularly, the hotel’s mid-century indoor pool structure is still spectacular in its state of decay.
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!
Another from the Shoe Box
In the spirit of Joel’s shoe box archive, we blew the dust off a project from twenty years ago, the interior decoration of a grand old house in New Jersey.
Book Report: Las Casas del Pedregal: 1947-1968
Today I will be reporting on Las Casas del Pedregal: 1947-1968. A brief report—I haven’t actually read it, as I can’t read Spanish—but never mind. It is the most hauntingly, beautifully sublime compilation of modernist images I’ve seen since middle school, when the miraculously stylized film strip version of Ray Bradbury’s "August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains" triggered my preoccupation with modernist ruin.
Architect of City and Country, Skyscraper and Suburb
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. Dispersal” at the Museum of Modern Art took the architecture floor stateside for a change, following their exhibitions on Frenchmen Labrouste and Le Corbusier. (All three were curated by Barry Bergdoll.)
Art for the Masses
Over the years, Keith York, who runs Modern San Diego, has introduced me to some of his mid-century buds in the region. The community is tight knit, and includes all sorts of artists, artisans, and owners of small companies native to California. It’s a group of people who live “mid-century,” surrounded by works from the movement that originated in their backyard.
One from the Shoe Box
I found an old box of construction photos of a favorite project from about 15 years back. I think the images are so good they should see the light of day.
Women Master Builders, Part I: Doris Duke and Shangri La
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 that pardisial structure is known, was Doris Duke’s private retreat from her very public life as the “richest woman in the world,” and her large-scale hobby in an agenda filled with myriad pursuits.
I was in San Diego last weekend, preparing for another polar vortex in New York by getting sun while I could. On Monday, I went to the beach in the morning to see the big surf generated from some distant storm.
At Sunset Cliffs, I met a guy named Eric who was riding a moped he built.
The Real Thing
Tiles from Heath Ceramics always surprise me with their perfect balance of variation and consistency, clarity and mystery, depth and surface. They are always showing just enough hand to be handmade but free of forced “artistry.” They are serious.
They are still made in their bohemian Sausalito, California, factory, the same place since 1959.