The 60 Minutes Interview: I.M. Pei

Brenda Watkins
May 20, 2019

Well, the Chinese died-American architect Ieoh Ming Pei at the age of 102 in NY.

Described by some as the world's "best bank building", Pei's distinctive glass high-rise with geometric lines partitioning the facade into triangles and diamonds joined Hong Kong's iconic skyline upon its completion in 1990.

From there, he became the chief architect for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in MA and worked on the East Building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. Outside of the USA, he was best known for designing the iconic glass and metal pyramid of the Louvre in Paris, the Miho Museum in Kyoto, Japan, and the Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar.

Located in Shigaraki, Japan, the Miho Institute of Aesthetics Chapel by I.M. Pei Architect features more than 8,000 Japanese red cedar planks on its soaring interior walls and 51 custom stainless-steel panels on its tear-drop-shaped exterior. The build, by I.M. Pei & Partners, is a low-rise building set around courtyards and created to preserve the natural rocks and trees on the site.

Isn't Pei's Paris pyramid familiar? Pei was born in Guangzhou of China and moved to the United States in 1935.

Professor Lam Khee Poh, dean of the National University of Singapore's School of Design and Environment, said: "He integrated urban planning, design and architecture in all his works from the beginning".

Bossone Research Enterprise Center designed by I.M. Pei himself is one of Drexel's most photogenic buildings on campus, close behind Main Building and LeBow. He became a naturalized US citizen in 1954.

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Pei won the Pritzker Architecture Prize, which is considered the field's highest honor.

Pei had four children, two of whom became architects.

Pei also designed the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. "Although Mr. Pei has left (this world), he will always be remembered through the Suzhou Museum, which epitomizes the light of his life", the museum posted Friday on its Weibo microblog.

"The first year and a half was really hell".

In addition to his museum oeuvre and contributions to the government and commercial landscape, Mr Pei also worked on moderate and low-income housing.

Pei's wife, Eileen, whom he married in 1942, died in 2014. "His versatility and skill in the use of materials approach the level of poetry", the committee wrote.

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