Renowned architect IM Pei '40 dies at 102

IM Pei, Chinese-born Architectural Titan, Has Died Aged 102

Architect I.M. Pei, who designed the giant glass pyramid at the Louvre Museum in Paris, has died.

Born in southern China's Guangzhou, Pei spent his childhood in Hong Kong and adolescence in Shanghai before moving to the US for college.

Pei designed the east building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington. "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.

In 1975, Mr Pei was elected to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

Born in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou in 1917, Pei spent his childhood in Hong Kong and Shanghai before moving to the United States at the age of 18.

After spending decades in the U.S., Pei returned to China an American citizen in 1974 as part of an exchange program organized by the American Institute of Architects.

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Pei's works received many honors, among them the Pritzker Prize, an award often referred to as the Nobel Prize of architecture, in 1983. He was also involved in the building of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

Pei worked for a NY developer in 1948 and teamed up with fellow architects he worked with at real estate developer Webb & Knapp to start their own firm I.M. Pei & Associates in 1955. "I want to find the originality in the time, the place, and the problem".

"The design of this building is in itself a very Chinese way of thinking about architecture, and a very innovative way of trying to put Chinese architecture within the dialogue of western architectural theory and practice", said Andy Xiong, an architecture student. He was married to Eileen Loo (蔣士雲) from 1942 until her death in 2014.

In 1964, Jacqueline Kennedy chose Pei to design the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Dorchester, Massachusetts. His New York architectural firm, Pei Cobb Freed & Partners - including Cornell alumnus John L. Sullivan III, B.Arch. '62 - worked in consultation with then-museum director Thomas W. Leavitt.

He is survived by sons Li Chung Pei and Chien Chung Pei, both architects; daughter Liane Pei, a lawyer; and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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