IM Pei, a pillar of modern architecture, dies at 102

IM Pei, a pillar of modern architecture, dies at 102

The Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei died Thursday at his home in NY at the age of 102.

He designed several famous buildings and structures all over the world, including the Bank of China skyscraper in Hong Kong, the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library in Boston, Mass., and the CAA headquarters in Beverly Hills, Calif. Signature projects include the Louvre Pyramid (pictured below) and the National Gallery of Art's East Wing. "In emotional energy, this has to be the most hard and the most tortuous thing I've ever done, because I have to deal with a system I don't understand", he told the Times.

It has since become celebrated as "a symbol of the modernity of the museum and an emblem of Paris across the world", Louvre president Jean-Luc Martinez said in 2017.

Pei won the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1983 and was cited as giving the 20th century "some of its most attractive interior spaces and exterior forms ..."

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". He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1954. Peis work, however, includes a much more spectacular buildings, such as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in OH, or the German Historical Museum in Berlin.

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Pei trained under modernist architect and Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius, getting his start with commercial real estate developer Zeckendorf in NY and launching his own firm in 1955.

Mr. Pei is survived by his three children.

He dedicated the US$100,000 prize money he was awarded as laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize to setting up a scholarship fund for Chinese students to study the craft in the United States, on the condition they return home to design and build.

I M PEI: I would say the first year and a half was really hell. Pei, who admitted he was just catching up with the Beatles, researched the roots of rock "n" roll and came up with an array of contrasting shapes for the museum. Designed with a composite structural system of steel and concrete, the 1.4-million-square-foot building received the China Tall Building Legacy Award in 2016. He was married to Eileen Loo (蔣士雲) from 1942 until her death in 2014.

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