I.M. Pei, Louvre Pyramid Architect, Dies at Age 102

A ceiling inside the Bank of China Tower designed by I. M. Pei and L.C Pei of I.M Pei and Partners in Hong Kong in 2015

Although Pei reached icon status in his field, both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Museum of Islamic Art were challenges for him, since Pei reportedly didn't love the rock music, and was previously unfamiliar with Islamic art.

His New York-based practice, established in 1955 as I. M. Pei and Associates, has built projects across the USA and in more than 30 countries internationally, including two in Australia. Their father's firm, previously I.M. Pei and Partners, was renamed Pei Cobb Freed & Partners.

"I.M. Pei's work across many contexts and cultures has an enduring, timeless quality", says Scott. 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.

Among his most well-known projects were the Louvre Pyramid in Paris, the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston.

In addition, the board of trustees of the Everson Museum of Art selected Pei in 1961 to design its new art museum, per the Everson website. After teaching and working for the USA government, he went to work for a NY developer in 1948 and started his own firm in 1955.

The geometric design of the building's windows, for instance, exemplifies the virtues of inquisitiveness and honesty that Pei strived for in all of his structures.

He brought to his work the notion that good architecture served a higher civic goal. They had four children, two of whom became architects.

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When Pei won the worldwide Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1983, he used the US$100,000 (S$137,000) award to start a programme for aspiring Chinese architects to study in the US.

Although Pei retired from his firm in 1990, he continued to work on a few select commissions in his later years. Besides sons Chien Chung Pei and Li Chung Pei, he is survived by a daughter, Liane.

Pei honed his skills, in both design and coddling clients, under the tutelage of the prominent NY real estate developer William Zeckendorf Sr. As an "expert" in Japanese construction, his job was to determine the best way to burn down Japanese towns.

In 1948, New York City real estate developer William Zeckendorf hired Pei as his director of architecture.

Pei died earlier this week at the age of 102.

Pei, a slight man who wore round, owl-ish glasses, became a United States citizen in 1955. He remained based in New York City.

Problems with the elaborate network of rods and spherical nodes that roof the Jacob Javits Convention Center in NY for a time brought waves of angry publicity as construction ground to a halt.

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