Chicago architect Stanley Tigerman passed away Monday night at age 88. He is responsible for not only diverse body of work spanning six decades, but a profound change in how we think and talk about architecture in the postmodern era.
Tigerman was one of the “Chicago Seven” architects that banded together in the 1970s to challenge the monotony of the glassy steel boxes pioneered by modernist Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. In 1978 he created a famous photocollage titled Titanic depicting Mies van der Rohe’s Crown Hall tilting beneath the waves like a sinking ship.
Tigerman’s out-of-the-box designs—often created in collaboration with fellow architect, partner, and wife Margaret McCurry—looked to Chicago’s eclectic past for inspiration. His work didn’t shy away from playful, symbolic elements like a parking garage that looks like the grill of a Rolls Royce or an Anti-Cruelty Society building with windows arranged to resemble the nose and ears of a dog’s face.
Tigerman is remembered for his tough spirit. The architect had a gruff, no-nonsense way of talking that bordered on grumpy, but his attitude was seen as a breath of fresh air to many. Few could deny the passion behind Tigerman’s convictions and colorful language. In a Chicago Reader interview, the architect said: “You know the phrase mellowed out? I haven’t really mellowed out. The office calls me a rabid teddy bear.”
Colleagues, journalists, and admirers of the late designer took to social media to express their sadness about Tigerman’s death, reflecting on his work and larger-than-life personality.
An old pal, Chicago architect, thinker, visionary, passionate critic of the built environment(and occasional subject of my photography) Stanley Tigerman has died. He was one who cared about Chicago. #chicago #chicagoarchitect #stanleytigerman pic.twitter.com/eQ4Qw8yGKT— Lee Bey (@LEEBEY) June 4, 2019
There aren’t many people you can honestly describe as giants. Stanley fit the bill. Stanley Tigerman, 1930–2019 https://t.co/1TIOgXldUq— Lynn Becker (@LynnBecker) June 3, 2019
RIP, Stanley Tigerman. The most influential Chicago Architect of the last 50 years, enfant terrible, teacher, mentor, all-around pain-in-the-ass. Despite it all, we will miss him.https://t.co/4UxYMVh7iI— EdwardKeegan (@EdwardKeegan) June 3, 2019
Stanley Tigerman said what he thought—improprieties be damned. His no-BS mentality was so refreshing in architecture, and will be missed.— Amanda Kolson Hurley (@amandakhurley) June 4, 2019
Today we are remembering our friend and colleague, Stanley Tigerman, FAIA, who received the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award for his amazing contributions to the profession. Watch the tribute video produced in his honor by Rick Valcenti. https://t.co/6uIxZpNBqi— AIA Chicago (@AIAChicago) June 4, 2019
i was with stanley tigerman about a month ago at his home, and he was witty and charming and brilliant. our "brief" meeting went on for two hours and i didn't want it to end. so grateful that i had that time. rip. pic.twitter.com/TK4SJ0305t— mark lamster (@marklamster) June 4, 2019
Tribune architecture critic Paul Gapp wrote this spot-on profile of Stanley Tigerman in 1985. With Tigerman’s passing, it’s a must-read. https://t.co/9fWLGvIJlS— Blair Kamin (@BlairKamin) June 4, 2019
Stanley Tigerman published extensively and gave many interviews where he discussed architecture, Chicago, and passing the baton. Two places to check:— MAS Context (@MASContext) June 4, 2019
- Interview from Debate: https://t.co/REArifH2So
- His Oral History from the @artinstitutechi https://t.co/aVlhTkSmvC pic.twitter.com/GphmQk3TPX
We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Stanley Tigerman. A pillar of the Chicago architecture community & an alumnus of SOM’s Chicago office, Tigerman influenced the city’s built environment in lasting & meaningful ways. He will be greatly missed. https://t.co/LTAEnVstaF— SOM (@SOM_Design) June 4, 2019
A loss to #chicago architectural community, a man who contributed to our noteworthy #PostModernism and taught generations of designers. Having sparred with Stanley Tigerman on #MyThompsonCenter, a formidable mind. He will be missed by @landmarksill and many. https://t.co/ezSjgyPLSm— Bonnie McDonald (@LIPresident) June 4, 2019
"I don’t have a problem with post modernism. I’m okay with it. How can you identify me with any movement when there is no overarching continuity in my work?"— Karrie Jacobs (@KarrieUrbanist) June 4, 2019
-- from a 2014 interview I did with Stanley Tigerman for piece I wrote on how we regard PoMo.
RIP Stanley Tigerman, whose wisdom ("Life-Cycle Sketch," n.d.) I have considered literally every day for the last seven years pic.twitter.com/0T76nMzhoz— Sam Bloch (@samkbloch) June 4, 2019
“You know the character you need to be an architect? You need to be brave. You need to be strong. You have to have a very strong backbone. You have to have very thick skin, because you’re going to get beat to shit by others, without question...“ RIP Stanley Tigerman— Armin Ganguly (@RIBA_architect) June 4, 2019