IM Pei, architect behind Louvre pyramids, dies age 102

A ceiling inside the Bank of China Tower designed by I. M. Pei and L.C Pei of I.M Pei and Partners in Hong Kong in 2015

A ceiling inside the Bank of China Tower designed by I. M. Pei and L.C Pei of I.M Pei and Partners in Hong Kong in 2015

Pei honed his skills, in both design and coddling clients, under the tutelage of the prominent NY real estate developer William Zeckendorf Sr.

Other creations included the trapezoidal addition to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, to the chiselled towers of the National Center of Atmospheric Research that blend in with the reddish mountains in Boulder, Colorado.

His buildings added elegance to landscapes worldwide with their powerful geometric shapes and grand spaces, among them, the striking steel and glass Bank of China skyscraper in Hong Kong. It was not the first time shock has given way to admiration in architecture.

"All through the centuries, the Louvre has undergone violent change", Pei said. "McCutcheon had been impressed with Pei's Place Ville Marie in Montreal, Canada (1955-66), which had consolidated a number of sites and provided a mixed-use concept for the entire development", wrote Philip Goad in Bates Smart: 150 Years of Australian Architecture.

Pei always referred to himself as an American architect, but he never forgot that he was also Chinese.

"The design of this building is in itself a very Chinese way of thinking about architecture, and a very innovative way of trying to put Chinese architecture within the dialogue of western architectural theory and practice", said Andy Xiong, an architecture student. When his large, glass pyramid opened at the entrance to the Louvre in 1988, it was not well-received.

The pyramids opened in the spring of 1989. Pei was raised in Hong Kong and nearby Shanghai, and often drew inspiration from the garden and canal-dotted city of Suzhou, his ancestral home.

Not all Pei's buildings were successful - the Hancock Tower in Boston, commissioned by John Hancock Insurance to overshadow the building of competitor Prudential, became the tallest building in New England when completed in 1976 but began shedding glass panels before it was even complete, forcing the builders to replace the entire facade.

Pei became best known for his modern building designs emphasising natural light, plain surfaces, and sharp angles, such as his landmark East Building at Washington's National Gallery of Art. "I was confident because this was the right time".

Hai Do adapted this story for Learning English based on Reuters and New York Times news reports. He topped it off with a transparent tent-like structure, which was "open - like the music", he said.

Pei worked designing buildings across the country and taking his own commissions, including the Luce Memorial Chapel in Taiwan and the Green Earth Sciences building at MIT until 1960, when he launched his own independent firm, I.M. Pei and Associates.

Problems with the elaborate network of rods and spherical nodes that roof the Jacob Javits Convention Center in NY for a time brought waves of angry publicity as construction ground to a halt. T'ing Chung died in 2003.

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.

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