For much of her professional life, Anne Tyng was known as the mistress of the celebrated modern architect Louis I. Kahn, with whom she had a daughter. But Tyng was also a phenomenal talent who got her due late in life, when the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Philadelphia acknowledged her contribution in a 2010 retrospective of her life’s work.
Born in Jiangxi China to Episcopal missionaries, Tyng graduated from Radcliffe College in 1942 and was among the first women admitted to Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, where she studied with Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer. After a brief stint working in New York, Tyng moved to Philadelphia in 1945, where she worked at Stonorov and Kahn until 1947 and later for Kahn when he left the partnership to strike out on his own.
In her obituary that appeared in the New York Times, Tyng is credited as ‘exerting critical influence on Kahn’s work’, including the Yale Art Gallery and the Trenton Bath House. In 1975, Tyng earned a doctorate in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, a school with which she was long affiliated.
She taught for 30 years at Penn’s School of Design and it is where her archive along with that of Louis Kahn’s is housed. Tyng died on December 27th at her home in Greenbrae, California. She is survived by a daughter, Alexandra that she conceived with Kahn, two brothers, and two grandchildren.