Architecture lost one of its greatest champions today. Stanley Tigerman, FAIA, died in his home town of Chicago, after a long battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to his wife and partner, Margaret McCurry, FAIA. The couple had celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary on Saint Patrick's Day this year.
Few would argue with the description of Tigerman as dean (or godfather) of Chicago architecture, a position that he occupied de jure during his tenure as director of the architecture school at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and that he occupied de facto from practically the day he started his own practice (today known as Tigerman McCurry) in the early 1960s. A fiercely proud alumnus of Yale University, he graduated from that school in 1961, after stints at MIT, in the U.S. Navy, and working for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, early modernist George Frederick Keck, and other practices.
Tigerman's career and work evolved in contradistinction to the strict tenets of modernism, as practiced and proselytized in mid-century Chicago by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Bruce Graham of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Projects such as the Anti-Cruelty Society Building (1981) in Chicago's River North neighborhood, with its Basset Hound entrance façade, exemplify his personal wit, erudition, and irascibility. Notable among Tigerman's later works, the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center (2009) in the Chicago suburb of Skokie gave expression to his Jewish heritage and lifelong love of history.
In 1994, Tigerman and designer Eva Maddox founded the Chicago-based nonprofit Archeworks, a public interest design incubator. Indeed, the latter portion of his life was characterized by such deep demonstrations of responsibility to the city of Chicago, its architects, and its architecture, and to society as a whole. He actively promoted the careers of emerging local practitioners such as the late Doug Garofalo and Jeanne Gang, FAIA.
Many of Tigerman's papers are housed in the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries of the Art Institute of Chicago.