Architect and godfather of Chicago's architectural community, Stanley Tigerman, has passed away. At 88 years old, Tigerman died in his home town of Chicago after a long battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Former director of the architecture school at the University of Illinois at Chicago, he founded his own practice, Tigerman McCurry, in the early 1960s.
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The Chicago Architecture Biennial has announced the list of participants invited to contribute to the event’s second edition, which will be held from September 16 to January 7, 2018 in Chicago. More than 100 architecture firms and artists have been selected by 2017 artistic directors Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee, founders of Los Angeles–based Johnston Marklee, to design exhibitions that will be displayed at the Chicago Cultural Center and throughout the city.
“Our goal for the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial is to continue to build on the themes and ideas presented in the first edition,” explained Johnston and Lee. “We hope to examine, through the work of the chosen participants, the continuous engagement with questions of history and architecture as an evolutionary practice.”
This article was originally published on Autodesk's Redshift 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.
While its status as an epicenter of architectural production is legendary, Chicago is sometimes overlooked by contemporary architectural debate, forced out of the spotlight by the proliferation of media outlets and educational institutions in the area around New York. However in the latter part of the 20th century and into the 21st, few people have been as devoted to fostering architectural discussion in the city as Stanley Tigerman. In this interview excerpt, originally published by MAS Context as "It’s Not What You Say, It’s What You Do," Iker Gil and Ann Lui speak with the famously antagonistic architect about everything from Chicago, to the New York Five, to the importance of keeping friends at arm's length.
At one point in this interview, Stanley Tigerman asked us: “You know the character you need to be an architect? You need to be brave. You need to be strong. You have to have a very strong backbone. You have to have very thick skin because you’re going to get beat to shit by others, without question. You have to have that quality in you to take the criticism that will come your way no matter what.”
At the core of this advice is the central belief that vigorous debate—including harsh criticism, strong positions, and the prioritization of powerful new ideas even at the cost of one’s own comfort—is essential to the forward movement of architecture.
Update: The Chicago Tribune's architecture critic Blair Kamin has now reported that 140 architects from 60 cities have expressed their interest in designing the Barack Obama Presidential Center in Chicago by submitting qualifications. Of these, 99 are based in the United States, although names have not been released. The below article, originally published on September 1st, lists 11 architects that Kamin was able to confirm had been invited to submit qualifications by the Barack Obama Foundation.
Last week, it was reported that the Barack Obama Foundation was searching globally for an architect to design Obama's Presidential Library and Museum (officially known as the Barack Obama Presidential Center). With the list of invited candidates for Obama's Presidential Center still a closely-guarded secret, though, the Chicago Tribune's architecture critic Blair Kamin has turned investigator, uncovering a list of 11 firms among the "fifty or more" which are believed to have been invited. Kamin states that the 11 firms he has confirmed to be in the running are "A) Of high caliber; B) Represent a broad geographic and aesthetic spectrum; and C) Include the established firms one would expect to be invited."