With few exceptions, most architects remain unknown by name to the public at large. Usually, we know them by their designs. One of the few men whose accomplishments are so great that his reputation has spread beyond trade circles is the great I.M. Pei.
Pei was born in the Chinese city of Guangzhou (what we wish we could still call “Canton”), and was raised in Hong Kong and Shanghai. At age 18 he left to come to college in the USA, starting at the University of Pennsylvania, but quickly transferring to M.I.T. His talent became evident quickly, and he joined the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He became a U.S. citizen in 1952.
One of the first projects that made his reputation was the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel in Washington, DC. That led to the building considered his first signature structure, the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado. Since then, he’s gained wide acclaim for the National Gallery of Art’s East Building, the John F. Kennedy Library, and the glass and steel pyramid of the Louvre Museum in Paris.
Architecture, like art, can only be described feebly by words. Here’s a gallery of some of I.M. Pei’s wonderful designs…
Pyramid entrance to the Louvre Museum, Paris
Museum of Islamic Art, Qatar
Javits Convention Center, New York City
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland
National Gallery of Art, East Building
National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston