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Remembering Stanley Tigerman: Designers, journalists, and fans share tributes

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The architect is remembered for his visionary designs and larger-than-life personality

Stanley Tigerman in his Chicago office in 2011.

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.