Designing Bridges to Burn
Architectural Memoirs by Stanley Tigerman
Designing Bridges to Burn is filled with often hilarious, sometimes poignant stories about the last quarter of the 20th century of American architecture with its architects’ conceits, foibles and missteps that only an outsider could have engaged in.
This is the story of how the heir of a middle-class American family after countless differences (many of his own making) found his way through the mine field of architectural practice and education. Filled with innumerable tales of steps not to take, the story is a “page-turner” as the author is not above self-mockery. It literally reeks of unabridged truth.
Tigerman’s exploits, both large and small, represents one idiosyncratic way of challenging convention. It is not recommended as a guide or “how-to” but rather as a “how-not-to” way of penetrating a field, which until now, was not thought of to be permeable. After a series of self-defeating trials, Tigerman arrived at the portal beyond which was architecture theory and practice. The title says it all: Designing Bridges to Burn is about an unnecessarily long and circuitous journey towards professional standing in a field that only after World War II could countenance the way in which the author approached a profession that before was only available to those to the manor born.