I. M. Pei

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I. M. Pei
BirthplaceCanton (Guangzhou), China

Pei, I. M.

(Ieoh Ming Pei) (pā), 1917–2019, Chinese-American architect, b. Guangzhou, China. Pei immigrated to the United States in 1935 and studied at the Univ. of Pennsylvania, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Harvard, where he taught from 1945 to 1948. That year he joined Webb and Knapp, Inc.; there he designed such projects as Mile High Center in Denver (1954–59). He established his own firm in 1955. In his works, structure and environment are carefully integrated with precise geometrical design and a superb sense of craft, resulting in crisp, clear, sculptural structures. He is known for his sensuous use of such materials as marble, concrete, glass, and steel and for his soaring, light-filled interior spaces. Pei's involvement in urban planning included the Government Center, Boston (1961), and Society Hill, Philadelphia (with Edmund N. Bacon, 1964).

Among his notable later buildings are the John Hancock Tower, Boston (1973); the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (1978); the Jacob Javits Exposition and Convention Center, New York City (1986); the 72-story Bank of China, Hong Kong (1989); the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame, with tower and glass pyramid, Cleveland (1995); the Miho Museum, Kyoto, Japan (1998); a new wing of the German Historical Museum, Berlin (2003); and the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar (2008). His master plan for the LouvreLouvre
, foremost French museum of art, located in Paris. The building was a royal fortress and palace built by Philip II in the late 12th cent. In 1546 Pierre Lescot was commissioned by Francis I to erect a new building on the site of the Louvre.
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's expansion and renovation (1987–89) initially outraged critics, in large part because of the 70-ft (21-m) steel-framed glass-walled pyramid (1993) that formed the entrance to the museum's new underground section. The pyramid has since become a Parisian landmark. Pei won the Pritzker PrizePritzker Prize,
officially The Pritzker Architecture Prize
, award for excellence in architecture, given annually since 1979. Largely modeled on the Nobel Prize, it is the premier architectural award in the United States and is named for the family that founded the
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 in 1983. In 1990 he retired from active management of his firm.


See P. Jodidio et al., I. M. Pei: Complete Works (2008); G. Von Boehm, Conversations with I. M. Pei: Light is the Key (2000); biography by M. Cannell (1995); biographical study by C. Wiseman (1990); studies by C. Wiseman (2001) and J. Rubalcaba (2011).

Pei, I. M. (Ieoh Ming)

(1917–  ) architect; born in Canton, China. He emigrated to the U.S.A. (1935) and studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and with Walter Gropius at Harvard. He was director of architecture with the contracting firm Webb and Knapp (1948–55) before establishing his own New York firm (1955), later to become Pei, Cobb Freed and Partners. From the outset Pei was associated with large-scale multipurpose developments, often connected with urban revitalization; his designs include some of the principal commercial, cultural, and educational buildings of the late 20th century, including the Hancock Building (1972) and John F. Kennedy Library (1979), both in Boston; the East Building of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (1978); and the controversial glass pyramid entrance to the Louvre, Paris (1983–89); in recent years he undertook major buildings in China and Hong Kong. Pei's buildings are characterized by their carefully, often dramatically arranged masses, use of exterior landscape in interior design through thoughtful siting, and technological innovation (he pioneered, for example, all-glass curtain walls).
References in periodicals archive ?
A Pritzker Prize Jury Citation declared, "Ieoh Ming Pei has given this century some of its most beautiful interior spaces and exterior forms.
Although the city of Suzhou was founded in the sixth century, during the Ming and Qing dynasties of the sixteenth and the eighteenth centuries it flourished as the Florence of China, according to the architect Ieoh Ming Pei. Painters, scholars and poets were drawn to this cultural centre.
Ieoh Ming Pei (pronounced: eeyo ming pay), the son of a banker, was born in Canton, China, and grew up in Shanghai.