Anne Tyng at the Graham Foundation
Louis Kahn collaborator Anne Tyng steps out of the architect’s shadow.
For decades, Anne Tyng’s architectural accomplishments have been overshadowed by those of the late Louis Kahn, her more famous employer, mentor and sometime lover.
It’s appropriate for the Graham to try to remedy this oversight because Tyng, 92, has a special connection to the foundation. In 1965, she became the first woman to receive one of its grants, which she used to write The Anatomy of Form: The Divine Proportion in the Platonic Solids, a treatise on geometry as applied to built form.
The Graham’s first-floor galleries display pages from Tyng’s unpublished manuscript and bring her ideas to life through giant sculptural installations. Each represents a different combination of platonic solids, i.e. the tetrahedron, cube, octahedron, dodecahedron and icosahedron. Designed by Tyng and created in plywood by architect Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss, these constructions vividly reflect Tyng’s ideal of “inhabitable geometry.” Visitors can step inside each installation to experience its interior space. Icosahedron with nested cube (2011, pictured) is particularly powerful because it resonates with the underlying geometry of the Graham Foundation’s historic Madlener House.
“Inhabiting Geometry” also highlights Tyng’s application of geometric theory to architectural form. The structural system of the unbuilt City Tower (1952–57), a collaboration with Kahn that Tyng describes as a “totally triangulated tower,” forms a vertical helix inspired by the DNA models that figure prominently in her writing. Sometimes Kahn gave Tyng credit, other times not. This exhibition helps her step out of his shadow.