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Dear Stanley,

Stanley Tigerman, former director of the School of Architecture, passed away June 3, 2019. Tigerman first taught at the School from 1964 to 1971. He returned in 1980, first as head of the Option 1 graduate program, and then as director, a position he held from 1985 to 1993.

This week, the Architect’s Newspaper published an open letter to Stanley by our director, Robert Somol. From the letter:

You had the temerity to suggest that Chicago was not just a city of pragmatics and profit, but of ideas and values, along with the talent to prove it and the tenacity to make others believe it. Through it all, you fought for discourse and argument and humor in a world dominated by marketing, platitudes, and unction. You remained committed to the belief that architecture, even in a place like Chicago, was a cultural event, that ideas and forms were connected—sometimes in your own work awkwardly or naively, at other times with shocking aura and simplicity. Just as you would take your work through serial attachments, quit, and move on, you would also direct the school through multiple and incompatible ideologies: pop-pomo, neo-classicism, deconstructivism, and the earliest moments of the digital, back when it was still manual. Others would mistake this as eclecticism, as a sign of your boredom, but in fact you were tirelessly demonstrating, training us in how to assume a position. It must have been exhausting to have to tutor a profession and a place so ill-suited to receive your lessons all those years, and no doubt it took its toll on your patience and your practice. Never willing to limit yourself to half a dichotomy, you would always rather fight and switch.

Stanley is omnipresent in our archives. For a selection of newsletter clippings that give some sense of the range and tenor of his work here, visit our Instagram.

We’re planning something related to Stanley in the fall. Keep an eye on our website for details.