Tuesday, 18 June, 2019

I.M. Pei, the architect behind the Louvre pyramid, dies aged 102

People reflected in glass pyramids outside the National of Art in Washingt People reflected in glass pyramids outside the National of Art in Washingt
Lora Ball | 20 May, 2019, 11:16

May 16 (UPI) - World-renowned architect I.M. Pei died at the age of 102, his family said Thursday.

Pei was born in Guangzhou, China, and raised in Hong Kong and Shanghai, before moving to the United States in 1935.

Pei's works around the world include museums, government buildings, hotels, schools and other structures built with stone, steel and glass. French President Francois Mitterrand, who personally selected Pei to oversee the decaying, overcrowded museum's renovation, endured a barrage of criticism when he unveiled the plan in 1984. It was a very futuristic style of work for the 12th-century building.

A French newspaper described Pei's pyramids as "an annex to Disneyland" while an environmental group said they belonged in a desert.

"Somehow they got together and he started commissioning him to do a number of the projects on Broad Street trying to revitalize it", Historic Augusta's Erick Montgomery said.

Pei said the Louvre was undoubtedly the most hard job of his career.

The pyramids opened in the spring of 1989.

"The pyramid does not so much alter the Louvre as hover gently beside it, coexisting as if it came from another dimension", wrote architecture critic Paul Goldberger.

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Pei officially retired in 1990.

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

Chinese-born Pei, who worked mostly in the United States, was the mastermind behind the controversial redevelopment of the Louvre Museum in Paris in the 1980s.

No challenge seemed to be too great for Pei, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which sits on the shore of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. Shown May 21, 2013.

"Pei's contribution to the physical environment of MIT has been significant, with several key buildings that established the form of the contemporary campus", says Andrew Scott, professor and acting head of the Department of Architecture. Completed in the mid-1950s, it was one of the only high-rise buildings in the city at the time.

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.

The Qatar museum, which opened in 2008, was inspired by Islamic architectural history, especially the ninth century mosque of Ahmed ibn Tulun in the Egyptian capital of Cairo.

The project was the result of a recommendation made by Vincent Ponte, a NY city planner who visited Australia in late 1969 and suggested that "ANZ, AMP Society and Mainline Corporation get together to use their total of three and a third acres [approximately 13,500 square metres] to develop a joint venture", reported the Sydney Morning Herald on 20 June, 1971.

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