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Stanley Tigerman, architect of puckish postmodernism, dies at 88

Architect Stanley Tigerman with models and renderings of his new Pacific Garden Mission building, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, on Oct 26, 2006. His books, articles and speeches enlivened architectural discourse for more than 60 years.

New York

STANLEY Tigerman, an architect and provocateur noted for playful buildings that offered alternatives to the glass and steel boxes that dominated Chicago's skyline for much of the 20th century, died on Monday in that city. He was 88.

His death was confirmed by his wife and professional partner, Margaret McCurry, who is also an architect. Mr Tigerman was raised in his grandparents' boardinghouse in Chicago, a city in thrall to the pristine modernist towers of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Mies died in 1969, and by the 1970s his acolytes were cranking out uninspired imitations of his buildings.

Mr Tigerman took a different tack, insisting that if Chicago was to remain a creative centre of architecture, it had to get beyond the glass box. He did that with buildings that featured exaggerated neo-Classical details and shapes derived from pop cultural imagery, in whimsical counterpoint to Mies' austerity.

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One Tigerman creation was called the "Animal Crackers house", after its resemblance to the classic Animal Crackers package; another was called the Daisy House. He made at least as big a mark with museum exhibitions, including the 1976 show Chicago Architects, which presented the work of lesser-known, idiosyncratic architects whose work Mr Tigerman felt had been overlooked because they did not follow Chicago's modernist party line.

His books, articles and speeches enlivened architectural discourse for more than 60 years. "There wasn't an issue that he didn't consider, think about, and form a position on, without fear," said Jeanne Gang, a prominent Chicago architect who considered Mr Tigerman a mentor.

In 1978, Mr Tigerman produced an image of one of Mies' most famous buildings, Crown Hall, part of the Illinois Institute of Technology, sinking into Lake Michigan. He called it "The Titanic," and it became his calling card.

"Modernism didn't sink - but it took the critique that Stanley and others offered and made itself something richer," said Dirk S Denison, an architecture professor at the institute. As the movement gained a name, postmodernism, Mr Tigerman became one of its leading exponents and practitioners. NYTIMES