[The 90’s raw: Stanley Tigerman]

Raw tape for the award-winning series The 90's. Interview with Chicago architect Stanley Tigerman, widely considered a maverick and an outsider in the architectural community, plus some footage of Chicago architecture.

01:00Copy video clip URL Interviewer Pat Creadon asks how architect Stanley Tigerman got his reputation as an “enfant terrible,” and Tigerman responds, “by going against the grain,” but claims he does this merely by being an architect. He discusses the role of the architect in “trying to find a better way,” by going against the status quo.

04:04Copy video clip URL Creadon asks what he considers to be good architecture and Tigerman responds, “Good architecture works out, it tries.” “Good is to deal with excellence, which deals with integrity.” Tigerman believes that architecture is ethical, and should not try to pursue a profit. “My belief is that architecture is a moral or ethical pursuit… Once architects start marketing to get work, it can’t be good.” He refers to these people as “markitects” and says Tigerman’s wife sees him as “the Don Quixote of architecture.”

06:12Copy video clip URL Tigerman says he considers himself an outsider: “I don’t consider myself a success. I find it embarrassing that we even have this many people.” “The people I admire are the heroes in architecture, the Mies van der Rohes, the Louis Sullivans, namely the failures… I always admired the original, people that went against the grain, the people that lit fires and were hung for it.” In fact, he considers himself a failure.

08:15Copy video clip URL Tigerman says he does not like to look at work that he has done in the past, and that architecture is concrete and doesn’t change. Tigerman says his architecture represents him at a specific point in time, and does not change as he does.

10:00Copy video clip URL He says that Chicago has a lot of “innate anti-intellectualism,” and he does not feel at home in Chicago. He says he is not well-respected in Chicago and does not get much local work — “You’re never a poet in your own home town, anyway.” But he thinks that this is what art is, being “uneasy.”

11:00Copy video clip URL The interviewer asks about what he thinks about the nineties, and what he is worried about. He goes on to describe the cultural problems that he thinks that architects need to be addressing. “I worry about the collective amnesia of a culture that disregards AIDS – like a plague, the homeless – like they don’t exist, the elderly… I worry about our disregard in every way toward an underclass, I worry about our government’s continuing lack of concern for the problems of cities.” “Architects are basically amnesiacs about these problems because they and their clients are largely the wealthy.” “You see a sort of hedonism in the ‘burbs’, in high rises.” “I hope that collectively a culture like ours… and architects will look to these problems and address them and write about them and build to them.”

13:46Copy video clip URL The interviewer asks about successful and failed buildings in Chicago, and Tigerman responds by directing attention to the State of Illinois building. Though widely criticized, Tigerman likes it because the architect showed “an act of courage.” “The courage of somebody that goes out of their way to create.” As an example of a failed building, he points to Tom Beebe and the library, which is not original but looks to a precedent for its style.

17:17Copy video clip URL Tigerman talks about the “architectural community” and says that “the strength of the city is its inventiveness, is its blue collar work ethic.”

17:58Copy video clip URL Tigerman believes that there is a new generation of architects who will take over and are “incredibly intelligent,” but perhaps not courageous enough. He says they need to focus more on social issues. “I will try to irritate as long as I’m around, to that end,” because “I believe in the human spirit, I believe in this country, I believe in this city.”

21:18Copy video clip URL Shots of downtown Chicago buildings, including the Thompson Center, the Swissotel, and Chase Tower. People say, “And you’re watching The 90’s.” This lasts for the remainder of the tape.

42:13Copy video clip URL End of tape.

 

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