July 14, 1920|
Lushan, Jiangxi, China
|Died||December 27, 2011
Greenbrae, California, USA
|Alma mater||Harvard University|
|Practice||Stonorov and Kahn|
Yale Art Gallery
Anne Griswold Tyng (July 14, 1920 – December 27, 2011) was an architect and professor. She is best known for having collaborated with Louis I. Kahn at his practice in Philadelphia. She served as a professor at the University of Pennsylvania for 27 years, following 29 years of collaboration with Kahn. She was a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, and Academician of the National Academy of Design.
Tyng's parents, Ethel Atkinson (née Arens) and Walworth Tyng, were from old New England families and were living as Episcopalian missionaries in China when Tyng was born in 1920, in Lushan, Jiangxi province.
As a young woman, Tyng showed her developed sense of mathematics and design. The Tyng Toy, a construction set for children, illustrated her mastery of form. The Tyng Toy allowed a small selection of pieces to be combined into a wide variety of toys and pieces of furniture, ranging from a stool to a rocking horse.
Tyng graduated from the architecture school at Harvard University in 1944. She was one of the first women to do so. She was the only woman to enter the architecture licensing exam in 1949 and, at the test, one of the male proctors turned his back on her and refused to cooperate.
She obtained her Ph.D at the University of Pennsylvania.
Tyng was a theorist known for her pioneering work in space frame architecture and her passion for mathematics. Her Ph.D. thesis, titled Simultaneousness, Randomness and Order, continues the combination of these interests. She received a number of grants from the Graham Foundation for further investigation into this field.
Tyng moved to Philadelphia and landed a job at Louis Kahn's architectural practice, Stonorov and Kahn, in 1945. Her fascination with complex geometrical shapes had a strong influence on several projects, such as the Trenton Bath House and the triangular ceiling of Yale Art Gallery.
Many wonder at how her intimate relationship with Kahn affected his architecture. She is named in many sources as his partner and muse. For example, the concept for Kahn's famous "City Tower" design was largely Tyng's invention. After a nine-year relationship with Kahn she became pregnant and, because of the potential scandal, Tyng turned down a Fulbright Scholarship and departed in the Autumn of 1953 for Rome. During her year in Italy, where their daughter, Alexandra Tyng, was born, Kahn wrote weekly to Tyng.
Aged 82, Anne Tyng appeared in Nathaniel Kahn's documentary My Architect discussing her insights into his work and her experience with Louis Kahn. Dr. Tyng returns to the building on which Kahn and Tyng first collaborated, the Trenton Bath House, for the first time since its completion, finding it neglected and in disrepair. Due in part to the attention that the film drew to the bath house's condition, the building was completely renovated in 2009.
- Saffron, Inga (January 7, 2012). "Anne Tyng, 91, groundbreaking architect". Philly.com. Retrieved 2012-01-08.
- Tyng, Anne Griswold (1997). Louis Kahn to Anne Tyng: The Rome Letters, 1953-1954. Rizzoli. ISBN 0-8478-2009-2.
- Kahn, Nathaniel (Director) (November 12, 2003). My Architect (Documentary).
- Anne Tyng documents and sources
- Anne Tyng, "Number is Form and Form is Number". Interview by Robert Kirkbride, Nexus Network Journal, vol. 7 no. 1 (Spring 2005)
- IAWA Anne Tyng Inventory
- Philadelphia Architects and Buildings - Tyng, Anne Griswold