The architect of the Louvre pyramid I M Pei dies at the age of 102


I M Pei on the 10th anniversary of the Louvre Pyramid, April 1999Author image

I M Pei, the architect behind the buildings including the glass pyramid outside the Louvre in Paris, died at the age of 102 years.

The tributes came to him, reminding him all his life that he had designed iconic structures all over the world.

Pei's designs are renowned for their emphasis on precision geometry, simple surfaces and natural light.

He continued to work well until old age, creating one of his most famous masterpieces – the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar – in the 80s.

A pragmatic artist

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

He worked as a researcher for the US government during World War II, and continued to work as an architect, founding his own company in 1955.

One of the most prolific architects of the 20th century, he designed municipal buildings, hotels, schools and other facilities in North America, Asia and Europe.

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Qatar's Islamic Museum of Art is one of Mr Pei's most famous projects

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

Pei has aroused controversy over his "reverse pyramid" (inverted pyramid) at the Louvre Museum. The glass structure was inaugurated in 1993 and is now one of the most famous monuments in Paris.

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Mr. Pei designed the John F Kennedy library and museum in Boston

His other work includes Dallas City Hall and the Japanese 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 has won numerous awards and prizes for his buildings, including the AIA gold medal, the Praemium Imperiale for Architecture.

In 1983 Pei was awarded the prestigious Pritzker prize. The jury said it had "given this century some of its finest interior spaces and exterior forms".

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


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