This article was originally published on Autodesk's Line//Shape//Space publication as "Inside My Design Mind: Salt-of-the-Earth Lessons From Architect Stanley Tigerman."
It’s no secret Stanley Tigerman has made a few enemies in his career. Chicago’s pugnacious 85-year-old architecture star and elder statesman, who received a lifetime achievement award from the American Institute of Architects in October, is known perhaps as much for his brand of gloves-off honesty as his buildings. In a 2013 interview with Chicago magazine, he summed up the redesign of the city’s Ludwig Mies van der Rohe–designed IBM tower as “shit.”
But there’s a socially minded, nurturing side of Tigerman—designer of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Pacific Garden Mission—that is sometimes lost in the offhand bravado of his public-facing comments. As a member of the Chicago Seven (which protested the predominance of modernism) and a provocateur who has organized seminal forums about architecture’s future, Tigerman is more than just tough talk.
Here, the architect, educator, and curator reveals a generous and expansive mind, praising the uncompromising will of his role model Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and explaining where he finds and nourishes inspiration. He speaks fondly of architecture’s next generation, to whom he offers this advice: Go slow. Don’t copy. Stand firm. Work hard.