Studio Blog

In Memory of Stanley Tigerman

June 18, 2019 Stanley Tigerman's Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie, Illinois

“I still see architecture as the high road… as an ethical pursuit,” said Stanley Tigerman in a 2013 interview in Chicago magazine. Mr. Tigerman, 88, passed away on June 3, 2019, leaving a legacy as credible and influential as any of his peers. While Tigerman is credited with over 390 projects and over 175 built works around the world, one of the things that differentiated him from his peers is that he focused the majority of his career on his hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Tigerman continued, “[My firm is] eight people. That’s my biggest success, keeping a small firm. We’re not payroll driven. We don’t have the temptation to follow the money. So we’re not in China. We’re building right here, close to home. That’s my end game. I love working in Chicago.”

The High Road

Stanley Tigerman
“I still see architecture as the high road… as an ethical pursuit.” – Stanley Tigerman, 1930-2019

As a Yale graduate and an alumnus of Chicago firm SOM, Tigerman began his own firm in 1962 and went on to become the central figure in the acclaimed first-generation postmodern group known as the Chicago Seven (which also included Larry Booth, Stuart Cohen, Ben Weese, James Ingo Freed, Tom Beeby and James L. Nagle). The Chicago Seven was a rebellion against the oppression of Modernism and the followers of famed architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, though James Nagle once clarified the primary concern was not with Mies van der Rohe, but all the watered-down derivatives that caused modernist structures to blend into anonymity.

Tigerman took over as director of the school of architecture at University of Illinois at Chicago for 8 years and in 1994 co-founded a Chicago nonprofit called Archeworks, a multidisciplinary design school in River North, Illinois.

In a video interview from the mid 1990’s, Tigerman states “How did I get my reputation? By going against the grain. The people I admire are the heroes in architecture – the Mies van der Rohes, the Louis Sullivans – namely the failures. I always admired the people that lit fires and were hung for it. Part of courage or heroism is being a bit of a failure, and I consider myself in a certain way a kind of a failure.”

Among his many notable works, a few of our favorites are:

Images property of Tigerman McCurry