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Great Architects Of The World: Ieoh Ming Pei

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Ieoh Ming Pei is widely regarded as one of the masters of modern architecture and is famous for designing one of the most iconic buildings in the world, the Louvre Pyramid in Paris.

A Chinese-born American architect, I.M. Pei completed a Bachelor of Architecture at MIT in Massachusetts in 1940. Pei was intrigued by modernist architecture and was inspired by architects such as Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright. In 1946, he completed a Master's Degree at Harvard's Graduate School of Design.

Between 1948 and 1955, he worked as an architect at the firm of Webb and Knapp, a company owned by New York real estate magnate William Zeckendorf. He headed a design team that was responsible for projects such as L'Enfant Plaza in Washington DC and the Mile High Centre (pictured below) in Denver, Colorado.


Le Grand Louvre, Paris, France.  Pei was the first foreign architect to work on the Louvre. Pei oversaw an ambitious renovation of the building in 1981, which included the construction of a glass and steel pyramid in the courtyard.  The pyramid is mirrored by an inverted pyramid underneath. The design was initially met with opposition, but is now considered a triumph.

Kennedy Library, Massachusetts, USAPei was commissioned to design the Kennedy Library, a memorial to John F. Kennedy, in 1963.  After many delays and criticism of his original designs, Pei finally designed a building with a triangular tower and a circular walkway.  His reputation as an architect soared after the completion of the project. 

Meyerson Symphony Centre, Dallas, USA

The Meyerson Symphony Centre was designed around a traditional 'shoebox' concert hall, which was chosen for its acoustical excellence.  A circular lobby and pavilion constructed of glass was designed to wrap around the hall.

In the 1990s, he reduced his involvement with his firm and began independent consulting.  He has designed a number of museums including the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar (pictured below).

Pei has won many awards, including the Pritzker Prize in 1983, the AIA Gold Medal in 1979, the Praemium Imperiale for Architecture in 1989 and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in 2003.

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