"Architecture teaches you to see, and therefore you learn to see things - and they are not all in one place. And sometimes they are in places far away from home. And you have to travel; and travelling and seeing is more important to your education than reading books. You have to teach yourself by seeing; and life becomes richer and the world is yours in a way." I. M. Pei

1917- Architect born in Canton, China

He emigrated to America in 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 from 1948 to 55 before establishing his own New York firm, later to become Pei, Cobb Freed and Partners. From the outset Pei was associated with large-scale multipurpose developments, often connected with urban revitalization. He tends to use a lot of glass, steel and concrete which causes people to classify him as a follower of Gropius, a proponent of the International Style. But Pei does not subscribe to any specific theory, working entirely in his own way. His designs include some of the principal commercial, cultural, and educational buildings of the late 20th century, including:

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).

Source: http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/Pyramide_du_Louvre.html http://www.pritzkerprize.com/pei.htm Last Updated 04.09.04

Ieoh Ming Pei was born in Canton, China in 1917. In 1935, at the age of 18, he left China for the United States in order to study architecture at both the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. Following graduation Pei spent seven years, beginning in 1948, as director of the architectural division at the firm of Webb & Knapp.

In 1955 Pei created his own firm, I. M. Pei & Partners. The firm's first notable project, was the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. However, things took off when Jackie Kennedy chose Pei as the architect for the John F. Kennedy Library with that commission Pei quickly became highly regarded as an modernist architect. Following the JFK Library, I. M. Pei was requested to design the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art, in Washington D.C.

Pei is also the recipient of the Medal of Liberty, presented to him by President Ronald Reagan for outstanding service as an architect, the Grande Medaille d'Or from the French Acadamie d'Architecture, was decorated by the French Government as a Commander in the Order of Arts and Letters awarded the Praemium Imperiale by the Japan Art Association for lifetime achivement, the Medal of Freedom presented by President George Bush for his contributions to world peace and service to the United States Government, as well as the Pritzker Prize. He used the Pritzker's $100,000 prize to start a scholarship fund for Chinese architecture students to study in the United States.

Famous Buildings by I. M. Pei




As an interesting side note, I.M. Pei also designed the Pei Dormitories, a notable architectural feature of New College in Sarasota, Florida. They are specially designed to be asymmetrical, so that the inhabitants can not become accustomed to them. This purportedly has the effect of forcing the students who live there to pay attention to the architecture every time they walk through, instead of becoming used to it. This is considered a Good Thing for the architect, but is often referred to as a Bad Thing by inebriated students who can't figure out where their dorm has gone.

Rumors about the Pei Dormitories include that they were originally to be done in blue marble, by the bay, that they were all going to originally have double balconies, but that they ran out of materials and that they were to be regular apartments, and that they were to be a senior citizen's rest home community. This last one has been largely discounted, due to the treacherous nature of the concrete stairs, and the general lack of amenities.

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