Legendary Chinese Architect Who Designed the Louvre Pyramid Dies at 102

I.M. Pei, renowned architect who left his mark on Denver, dies at 102

His death was confirmed Thursday by a spokesman at his NY architecture firm.

Pei's works ranged from the trapezoidal addition to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., to the chiseled towers of the National Center of Atmospheric Research that blend in with the reddish mountains in Boulder, Colorado.

French president Francois Mitterrand was so impressed that he had Pei hired to build a glass pyramid into the courtyard of the Louvre, the world's most visited museum.

In 1990, the Bank of China Tower opened - and his modern, soaring design instantly became one of the most recognizable skyscrapers in Hong Kong. "In our architectural and cultural worlds at the time, he was a pioneer".

Pei said of the project: "All through the centuries, the Louvre has undergone violent change".

Pei had four children, two of whom became architects.

Pei was also responsible for designing the accompanying "pyramid ininversée" (inverted pyramid)-an inverse of the original pyramid that is located in the Carrousel du Louvre in front of the Louvre Museum.

Local architecture photographer Darren Soh, who has photographed Mr Pei's creations in Singapore on multiple occasions, said his designs have stood the test of time.

Before seducing Paris, he utterly scandalized the city with his proposal for a glass pyramid at the Louvre, a then-radical proposal for a site seen by many as representing the soul of France.

The pyramids opened in the spring of 1989.

Pei dedicated energetic efforts to supporting the arts and education, serving on visiting committees at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Harvard and MIT as well as a range of USA government panels including the National Council on the Humanities and National Council on the Arts. "I was confident because this was the right time".

Mr Pei was known to be sensitive in the way he designs his building, ensuring that it fulfils the needs of its users while melding well with its surroundings.

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. His father worked as a banker and his mother was an artist.

He elaborated on those geometric shapes in the design of the marble-clad East Building of the National Gallery (1978), the most acclaimed of Pei's projects.

I.M. Pei, one of the best-known architects of the 20th century, has died. Among the firm's accomplishments are the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

Pei was married to the former Eileen Loo, the granddaughter of a former Chinese ambassador to the U.S. The couple had three sons-T'ing Chung, Chien Chung, and Li Chung-and a daughter, Liane. T'ing Chung died in 2003.



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