Cheryl Towler Weese Interviews Stanley Tigerman
Article By: Cheryl Tower
Pages 134-142

Table of Contents


Designers and Architects is a chapter of Citizen Designer in which Cheryl Towler Weese interviews Stanley Tigerman, "an architect and partner at Tigerman McCurry Architects and an educator and the director of Archeworks."[1]

The interview begins with a question by Weese regarding the obligations of designers, to which Tigerman responds “[Designers are] obligated to everyone—to yourself, your client, the user, and society…”[2] He argues that the “profession of architecture” is doing it for the money and that the “art of architecture” is ultimately burdensome and undesirable and expresses his belief that the “discipline of architecture” is the highest calling, likening it to a monastic discipline or the study of the Hebrew Torah.[3]

Tigerman goes on to share a story about his time working on architectural projects in Bangladesh to illustrate a point about the importance of the bottom line and the difficulty of completing a project when conflicts arise between clients. He attempts to define what it means to “build well”: “To make sure the buildings…don’t leak, don’t torque, don’t act strangely."[4] He adds that a well-built building is one that will stand for a long time, and when Weese suggests that the definition includes building it with care, he says that it is more impressive to achieve that than to make something ugly into something beautiful.

external image 250px-Stanley_Tigerman.jpgTeese and Tigerman discuss what it means to be a moral architect, the latter suggesting that the designation is based on the choices the individual(s) in question makes as a designer rather than on his/her general morality by calling Mies van der Rohe an ideal example as a moral architect. He speaks of Mies poor treatment of women and desire to serve as the personal architect of Adolf Hitler, but still considers him to be an exemplary designer because he designed well and read “serious books,” among them works by Sts. Thomas Aquinas and Augustine.[5]

Their dialogue concludes with a discussion about the means by which design and architecture might be improved by a more ethical approach. Tigerman ends with a broad declaration that the world “would be a much better place—if we used our expertise, preferably in tandem with others” for humanitarian efforts and charitable pursuits.[6]


This article, like many of the other interviews in this publication, adds value by sharing a seasoned member of the design community's insight on things like design responsibility and ethics. The interview outlines specific occasions when Tigerman was faced with moral dilemmas while working as an architect, and how he responded to those instances. His experience and opinions are extremely useful for those studying design and looking to pursue it as a career in the future.


  • Weese, Cheryl (2001). "Designers and Architects", Steven Heller and Veronique Vienne, Citizen Designer.

  1. ^
    Weese 2001, p. 134.
  2. ^
    Weese 2001, p. 134.
  3. ^ Weese 2001, p. 135.
  4. ^
    Weese 2001, p. 137.
  5. ^
    Weese 2001, p. 139.
  6. ^
    Weese 2001, p. 141.