|Elva Rubio, Carlo Parente, Karla Sierralta, Carl Ray Miller, Stanley Tigerman, Martin Kläschen,Eva Maddox|
In the late 1970's, with Mies van der Rohe dead for nearly a decade and so-called "Miesian" architecture at its greatest point of power, architect Stanley Tigerman declared war with a single photo montage . . .
|click images for larger view|
Architecture Biennial launched with full force, architect and designer Elva Rubio thought it might be time for an update.
|Elva Rubio, Stanley Tigerman|
"If you look at the wall," explained Rubio, "basically this is Stanley's office here, that you allowed us to kind of pull out and bring to the public which is absolutely amazing, kind of a patchwork of their lives, he and Margaret, and all the different accomplishments. You can see the range is astonishing. It's writing, it's product design, ideation, architecture, urbanism, so it's quite a prize . And it's a very small piece of what is there."
The moment came. Titanic 2015 was unveiled . . .
Archeworks, the alternative design school he had founded in 1994 with Eva Maddox, at an event that had been named "Passing the Baton". He strode to the podium with a briefcase, from which first pulled a conductor's baton. That is not what he meant, he said. Then he pulled out the kind of baton marathon runner's pass one to the next. That is not what he meant. Finally, he pulled out a large hunting knife. That is what he meant, he said, just before he striding out of the building never to return.
Of course, the violence that Tigerman referred to repeatedly is less a matter of tearing flesh than an Age of Innocence kind of genteel evisceration. Indeed, even the imagery of Titanic 2015 - a bomb falling from the sky about to obliterate both Mies's Crown Hall and Frank Gehry's Bilbao museum should be seen as a kind of a McGuffin spurring discussion about succession.
"There are originals, and there are copies. So I have a problem with an icon. I mean, I love Frank Gehry and I certainly love Mies van der Rohe. Obviously, Bilbao has become iconic. And it's not about signature work. Not about Frank replicating or redoing something in a similar certain way. It's about something becoming an icon. Something becomes so staggeringly important that it inhibits one from finding one's own series of icons. So that's what this is about. It's got nothing to do with bombing Crown Hall or Bilbao at all."
"It's the problem of using those referents as inspiration. Inspiration is there in the emptiness of your drawing board or your computer . . . You try to do something each time out of the barn that's new. Not to be different. But just to try your hand at it. Inevitably, there will be things on your mind. Architects always have agendas. Architects are not simply, as Frank Lloyd Wright referred to himself as Louis Sullivan's pencil. They're not the client's pencil. The client comes to you because they're hoping that you have an idea about something. And when you hold up an icon, and that becomes the referent, then the client in a way becomes diminished."
"[Mies] was not going to be held hostage to the vicissitudes of clients. He had a 20-man office. He had 20 people. He had 20 people when he died. And he didn't expand it to 21, or drop it to 19. That was his team. And he wasn't going to have somebody come in and say, oh, we're going to overturn everything to accommodate them."
|Stanley Tigerman, Eva Maddox|
"Architecture is optimistic. The forces are always there to diminish you. Building commissioners, zoning administrator, often clients. to diminish the work of the architect . . . You have to have a very strong stomach, and a very strong backbone. You have to be stunningly and optimistically inclined to cause something to be built."
"It takes a wonderful client to make a really good building to transpire. So it is about optimism. You have to convey that optimism to your clients and everybody in the world, who will make light of what you do. Trust me."
|Chicago Architecture Biennial|
|Elva Rubio, Lynn Osmond, Stanley Tigerman, unidentified, Eva Maddox|
The exhibitions Currencies of Architecture and Celebrating an Icon continue at the Chicago Architecture Foundation, 224 South Michigan. Concurrent with Celebrating an Icon is a series of panel discussions which continue next Thursday, October 29th, with a Chicago Educators evening including Penelope Dean of UIC, Vedran Mimica of IIT and Ben Nicholson of SAIC; a November 12th event with Carol Ross Barney; SOM's Brian Lee on November 19, and a closing party and auction on December 4th. More information here.
Stanley Tigerman 821 Stanley Tigerman Sketches 821, is on display at Volume Gallery through December 5th.
The Architect as Zelig: Tigerman's Ceci n'est pas une reverie, at the Graham
Schlepping with Stanley
Stanley Tigerman Miscellany