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Giving Back

This just in: Born and bred local architect Stanley Tigerman is the recipient of the 2013 AIA Chicago Lifetime Achievement Award.

His architectural concepts changed the built environment as we know it, but his involvement in the community and mentorship of next-generation designers will leave quite a legacy as well. In addition, the majority of his portfolio has a philanthropic tilt; from child safety to advocacy for the physically and emotionally impaired, and low-income housing. Says Tigerman: “Doing signature work to further your own career is far less important than creating positive change by doing something for others.”

1. Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center, Little Italy, Chicago
“Over 2,000 children between birth and puberty are molested in one way or another—a staggering number. I didn’t want to make it institutional—the fear of what that might mean, the trauma—so I took cues from the home, added play scenarios and things that would help them feel secure.”

2. Pacific Garden Mission, South Loop, Chicago
“Most people walk by the homeless, ignoring them… Cities are very cruel. So I created an outdoor space for them that was friendly. There is an atrium that floods the interior with light and a street with all the accoutrements: lights, trash receptacles, benches… So there is at least one street they can call their own and have a sense of security.”

3. Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, Skokie, Ill.
“This was a very moving project; a once-in-a-lifetime humanity project. The Third Reich wanted to get rid of not just the religion, but the entire culture. What I wanted to do was an ‘in your face’ building. Because they didn’t cave; they didn’t lose their civilization—the Jews prevailed. I tried to state that through the architecture on some level.”

4. Momochi Apartments, Kyushu, Japan
“I used the ancient unit of measurement, the cubit: ‘From the elbow to the outstretched fingers.’ And turned that into a grid type of matrix on the outside. Which adds a layer of protection—not just for the people that live there, but for the innocent passersby as well.”

5. Illinois Regional Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Chicago
“I worked with the Society for the Blind, with blind people, to get a sense for their lives. They find moveable furniture very difficult, so we fixed everything instead. And used a linear plan so they could flow down the line of the building, engaging their other senses, their tactile senses, while feeling safe.”