Every Friday, we choose an alum who has been making headlines—for better or for worse.
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9/2/11: Stanley Tigerman ’61MArch

Though Stanley Tigerman ’61MArch has been a constant and provocative presence in architecture for decades—especially in his native Chicago—this autumn is shaping up to be the Season of Stanley for the 81-year-old architect. First up, the Yale School of Architecture opened an exhbition last week centered on Tigerman’s drawings, which he is donating to the Yale University Library’s architecture archive. He also has two books coming out this fall: a collection of his writing on architecture titled Schlepping Through Ambivalence and an autobigography called Designing Bridges to Burn.

As the exhibition suggests, Tigerman’s career has encompassed an odd mix of iconoclasm, social consciousness, and consumerism, and fun. He started out as a modernist under the sway of Paul Rudolph at Yale, but he later took a leading role in the post-modern reaction to modernism. (His 1978 photomontage of Mies van der Rohe’s Crown Hall bobbing in Lake Michigan was a touchstone of the post-modern rebellion.) Although he designed high-end tableware and bedsheets in the 1980s and has regularly appeared on Architectural Digest’s list of the top 100 residential architects, he has also designed a Holocaust museum (in Skokie, Illinois) and housing for the homeless. And in 1993, he cofounded Archeworks, an alternative design school in Chicago that emphasizes collaboration and work for nonprofit groups.

Four years ago, Tigerman told Architectural Record that he found socialy conscious work more rewarding. “Rich people don’t need me. There’re plenty of architects, good architects, to do villas for princes and princesses. I’m not needed. You see, you want to go where you feel you’re needed. I’ve worked in areas of social causes before and it’s very rewarding because you’re doing something for people who never had access to, say, good design.”

Filed under architecture, books
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