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15 projects from iconoclast architect Stanley Tigerman

Suburban Village

He was one of the godfathers of Chicago architecture

Known as one of the godfathers of Chicago architecture, the influential, outspoken architect Stanley Tigerman passed away on June 3, 2019. He was 88.

He was known for his postmodern works, like the Illinois Regional Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, and architecture that rejected the status quo, like the playful Children’s Advocacy Center. But the architect refused to be classified and restricted to a certain style. He also designed a Miesian apartment building in Uptown (although he was highly critical of the Mies legacy later on) and built the Gothic-referencing Chicago Bar Association downtown.

After receiving a degree in architecture from Yale in 1961 and then working under architects like George Keck and Harry Weese, Tigerman left Skidmore, Ownings, & Merrill in 1964 to start his own practice in Chicago. It later became Tigerman McCurry Architects which he ran with his wife and partner, Margaret McCurry, for decades. The firm is credited with 390 projects and 175 built structures.

Tigerman’s work is infused with irony, wit, and humor. Take for example his flashy parking garage on Lake Street that looks your entering under the grill of giant Rolls Royce, or the Highland Park house he designed to look like a box of animal crackers. Tigerman said his Jewish faith played a large role in his design philosophy, and a notable later work, the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie, gave him a chance to honor his religion.

He was an iconoclast and rebelled against the industry’s Miesian obsession by forming what was known as the Chicago Seven. Later on in 1994, Tigerman and designer Eva Maddox founded a design lab Archeworks on the idea that design should serve all.

Here we take a look at 15 works from Tigerman and his firm Tigerman McCurry Architects.

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