Architect I.M.Pei Dies at 102

Brenda Watkins
May 20, 2019

Pei died overnight at 102, his son said Thursday, the New York Times reports.

Pei's influence could be felt all over the world, from the National Gallery of Art, East Building, in Washington, D.C., to the iconic pyramidal glass entrance to the Louvre in Paris, to the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong.

Pei has received numerous awards for his work, among them the the Gold Medal for Architecture of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1979; the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1983; the first Praemium Imperiale for Architecture in 1989; and the Medal of Freedom in 1992, which was presented to him by President George H.W. Bush.

The museum blends features of Suzhou's famed classical gardens and white stucco dwellings with a modern facade of steel and glass. His creations range from the National Center of Atmospheric Research in Colorado, USA, to the Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar, the Macau Science Centre in China, to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, USA.

The New York Times calls NCAR, which was built in the 1960s, one of Pei's most important buildings.

"I believe that architecture is a pragmatic art".

And the French daily Le Figaro, which had led the campaign against the "atrocious" design, celebrated its genius with a supplement on the 10th anniversary of its opening.

Ieoh Ming Pei was born in 1917 in Guangzhou, China, before moving to the United States at the age of 18, where he studied at Pennsylvania, MIT and Harvard.

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The Socialist leader was in the midst of attempting to transform Paris with a series of architectural projects that included the Bastille Opera and La Grande Arche de La Defense, a huge modernist archway in the west of Paris.

Pei came to the United States in 1935 with plans to study architecture, then return to practice in China. Previous year the Louvre welcomed more than 10 million. They honored French history.

The project launched by President Francois Mitterrand was met with much controversy.

Pei said the Louvre Pyramid, completed in 1989, was undoubtedly the most hard job of his career. "As a focal point both physically and visually, it's the very essence of Pei's idea of architectural celebration".

His talents seemed best-suited to large-scale buildings of civic significance.

The building was erected the same year that Pei officially retired, though he continued to work on projects.

After teaching briefly at Harvard, Pei worked for NY commercial real estate developer William Zeckendorf for 12 years.

Pei was married to the former Eileen Loo, the granddaughter of a former Chinese ambassador to the U.S. The couple had three sons-T'ing Chung, Chien Chung, and Li Chung-and a daughter, Liane. T'ing Chung died in 2003.

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