Jul 17, 2019 | Updated: 10:03 AM EDT

The World Says Goodbye to Iconic Architect I.M. Pei

May 17, 2019 08:57 AM EDT

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Chinese-American Architect I.M. Pei
(Photo : Alonso de Mendoza)
Iconic Chinese-American Architect I.M. Pei

The multi-awarded Chinese American architect I. M. Pei has passed away at the age of 102. 

Within the remarkable seven decades of his career, Pei has designed some of the world's most iconic buildings. These include Place Ville-Marie in Montreal, Canada; Luce Memorial Chapel in Taichung, Taiwan; Mesa Laboratory (National Center of Atmospheric Research), Boulder, Colorado; Dallas City Hall, Dallas; East Building National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC; John F Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston; Bank of China tower in Hong Kong; the Louvre Pyramid and La Pyramide Inversée, Louvre in Paris, France; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio; Miho Museum in Shiga, Japan; Museum of Islamic art in Doha, Qatar; and the Macau Science Center in Macau,

Pei has built a wide range of building types including office towers, civic structures, and art museums. Even if his range reaches different building types, each of his work is noted for the rich materiality and the understated elegance which shows in a distinct style he developed over the course of his career. The celebrated architect used his work to express his incredible ability to respond to various design requirements, including varying contexts, and design briefs.

Place Ville-Marie was hailed as the third tallest skyscraper outside the United States during its completion. I. M. Pei completed the construction of the building in 1962 in partnership with Henry N. Cobb.

The next year, he has completed the Luce Memorial Chapel, one of the most striking buildings that the architect built, and is the central landmark of Tunghai University.

Pei's love for blending modernist and vernacular styles was evident in Mesa Laboratory. The architect was inspired by the Anasazi character and the use of bush-hammered concrete.

The Dallas City Hall was built as an inverted prism being the result of the building design requirement which is to use less space for the office. 

In contrast with John Russell Pope's original neoclassical building, Pei built his addition to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC with warm-colored stone as a façade and a monumental sense of scale to pay homage to the older building.

The John F Kennedy Library in Boston MA
(Photo : Fcb981, edited by Fir0002)
The John F Kennedy Library in Boston MA


Pei regards the John F Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum as the most important commission of his life. It pays tribute to one of America's most popular leaders.

The 70-story-tall asymmetrical Bank of China Tower is one of the most iconic skyscrapers in Hong Kong. Pei used faceted crystal clad in reflective glass for the building's façade.

The glass and steel pyramid serves as the Louvre's main entrance for nearly 25 years was built by Pei as a perfect juxtaposition against the museum's French Renaissance style. It is said that the crystalline pyramid matches the proportions of the famed Pyramids of Giza.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame featured a tetrahedral glass tent behind the 165-foot-tower that connects to the theater space projecting out over Lake Erie.

Pei designed the Miho museum to have a large glass roof supported by steel trusses in the interior. One-third of the building was carved out of a rock and is designed to be underground.

In Qatar, the architect's love for geometric figures shows in his work which features step construction and the soaring dome atrium for the Museum of Islamic art.

In 2009, Pei completed the asymmetrical, conical shaped, and aluminum clad cultural and educational facility known as Macau Science Center which is a towering atrium with a planetarium that can seat 150 people.

His most prestigious awards include The Royal Gold Medal, The Presidential Medal Of Freedom, The AIA Gold Medal, The 1983 Pritzker Prize, and The Praemium Imperiale.

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