Sculptor Robert Engman is perhaps best known for “Triune,” a trifold Moebius strip that stands majestically outside City Hall, but his sculpture “Quadrature #1” is one of the most inspiring works I have ever encountered in this city. The asymmetric, scored sienna pyramid, accompanied by two excavated steel cylinders — one of the many Engman pieces that dot Penn’s campus — lies hidden at the eastern end of Hamilton Walk, in a little courtyard behind HUP. As a Penn Professor, Engman tried to inspire his students to incorporate the stark regularity of geometric forms into their architecture; with “Quadrature #1” he has inspired me, long after his death, to appreciate the divine perfection of mathematical formulae as equally as the spontaneous beauty of haphazard curves both in art and in life.


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