Chinese-born architect I M Pei dies at 102

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-48303529

I M PeiImage copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

I M Pei was the man behind many iconic buildings around the world

I M Pei, the architect behind buildings including the glass pyramid outside the Louvre in Paris, has died aged 102.

Tributes have been pouring in, remembering him for a lifetime of designing iconic structures worldwide.

Mr Pei’s designs are renowned for their emphasis on precision geometry, plain surfaces and natural light.

He carried on working well into old age, creating one of his most famous masterpieces – the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar – in his 80s.

A pragmatic artist

Ieoh Ming Pei was born in Guangzhou, China in 1917, and moved to the US at the age of 18 to study at Pennsylvania, MIT and Harvard.

He worked as a research scientist for the US government during World War Two, and went on to work as an architect, founding his own firm in 1955.

Image copyright
AFP

Image caption

Mr Ping (left) caused controversy for his design of a glass and steel pyramid in Paris’ Louvre museum

One of the 20th Century’s most prolific architects, he has designed municipal buildings, hotels, schools and other structures across North America, Asia and Europe.

His style was described as modernist with cubist themes, and was influenced by his love of Islamic architecture. His favoured building materials were glass and steel, with a combination of concrete.

Mr Pei sparked controversy for his “pyramide inversée” (inverted pyramid) at the Louvre Museum. The glass structure opened in 1993 and is now one of Paris’ most famous landmarks.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Qatar’s Islamic Museum of Art is one of Mr Pei’s most famous designs

His other work includes Dallas City Hall and Japan’s Miho Museum.

“I believe that architecture is a pragmatic art. To become art it must be built on a foundation of necessity,” he once said.

He was won a variety awards and prizes for his buildings, including the AIA Gold Medal, the Praemium Imperiale for Architecture.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Mr Pei designed Boston’s John F. Kennedy Library and Museum

In 1983 he was given the prestigious Pritzker Prize. The jury said he had he “has given this century some of its most beautiful interior spaces and exterior forms”.

He used his $100,000 prize money to start a scholarship fund for Chinese students to study architecture in America.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *