In Memory of Stanley Tigerman (B.Arch ‘60, M.Arch '61)

In Memory of Stanley Tigerman (B.Arch ‘60, M.Arch '61)

Alumnus, teacher, and architect Stanley Tigerman died on Monday following a long illness.

A Chicago native and Yale alumnus, Tigerman (‘60 BArch, ‘61 M.Arch) was a principal of the Chicago-based firm Tigerman McCurry Architects. He designed numerous buildings and installations throughout North America, Western Europe and Asia, and delivered many hundreds of lectures around the world. He was Director of the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago for eight years. At Yale Tigerman taught as the William Henry Bishop Visiting Professor in 1984 and the William B. and Charlotte Shepherd Davenport Visiting Professor in 1993. In 1994 he co-founded with Eva Maddox ARCHEWORKS, a school and “socially oriented design laboratory,” in Chicago.

Tigerman’s work earned him critical acclaim and countless awards, especially in Chicago, where he was born and where his practice flourished for more than a half-century. The work of his firm has been exhibited more than 300 times in major galleries and art museums around the world, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 2007, Tigerman and his partner Margaret McCurry were named by Architectural Digest to its list of the top 100 architects and designers in the world.

Tigerman’s drawing archive was transferred to Yale Manuscripts & Archives in 2012 (other parts of the archive are housed in the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries at the Art Institute of Chicago), following an exhibition focused on his work titled Ceci N’est Pas Une Reverie shown at the Yale School of Architecture in Fall 2011. Among the diverse objects, documents and projects featured in the archive are Tigerman’s Bachelor’s and Master’s theses under Paul Rudolph at Yale and models and sketches of early and mid-career projects, such as the Five Polytechnic Institutes in Bangladesh (1966-75); the Urban Matrix proposal on Lake Michigan (1967-68), the Daisy House (1975-78) and Dante’s Bathroom Addition (1980). More recent projects represented include the Commonwealth Edison Energy Museum in Zion, IL (1987-90), the Park Lane Hotel in Kyoto (1990); the Berlin Wall project (1988) and the recently inaugurated Holocaust Memorial Foundation of Illinois (2000-2009). Tigerman also designed tableware for Swid Powell and other household objects for Cannon Fieldcrest and Alessi.

Tigerman became known for his wit with his famous Titanic collage showing a sinking Crown Hall emblematic of both his work’s challenging of modernist dogmas and humorous command of architecture’s many media. Similarly, his “Architoons” series developed a unique and colorful visual language within 1970s postmodernism.


In the early 1960’s I was in the graduate architecture program at Yale and became good friends with Stanley Tigerman and Muzharul Islam who were fellow students. The three of us would have coffee in the morning on most days in a café across the street from the architecture building. We were a Christian from Minnesota, a Jew from Chicago, and a Muslim from Pakistan who shared a common objective in design thinking about the future and the opportunity architects had in shaping it. Stanley went on to become a global design leader in shaping Chicago and American architecture including the outstanding Holocaust Museum; Muzharul went back to Pakistan and became the most influential architect in shaping urban architecture in Pakistan bringing Stanley Tigerman, Paul Rudolph an Louis Kahn to design projects in Bangladesh; and I went on to win a Rome Prize and returned to Minnesota and became an international leader in interdisciplinary design and bringing rural design into the design vocabulary. When the three of us were together at Yale it was Stanley that was the anchor of our group and our class with outstanding global architects teaching under the direction of Paul Rudolph. My wife and I had the opportunity to meet and have dinner with Stanley and Margret in 2017 and it was wonderful to share stories and feelings about the impact of Yale and how Muzharul and other students and teachers shaped our life careers. Stanley was a great architect and teacher, a unique design thinker, and will be sorely missed. My sympathies to Margaret and anyone who worked with Stanley.
—Dewey Thorbeck, FAIA, FAAR