Thursday 17 October 2019

Louvre pyramid architect Pei dies aged 102

The late architect I.M. Pei laughs while posing for a portrait in front of the Louvre glass pyramid, which he designed, in the museum's Napoleon Courtyard in 1989. Photo: AP
The late architect I.M. Pei laughs while posing for a portrait in front of the Louvre glass pyramid, which he designed, in the museum's Napoleon Courtyard in 1989. Photo: AP

Abby Young-Powell

I. M. Pei, one of the great modernist architects of the 20th century, has died aged 102.

Tributes have poured in for the man who designed the controversial glass pyramid outside the Louvre in Paris and the multi-shaped rock 'n' roll hall of fame in the US.

The multiple award-winning architect worked internationally over many decades and was known for designs which had an emphasis on precision geometry and natural light.

Born in Guangzhou, China, in 1917, Mr Pei came to the United States aged 17 to study architecture. His works ranged from the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC and the steel and glass Bank of China skyscraper in Hong Kong.

Some of his most recent projects were the Museum of Islamic Art, built on an artificial island off the waterfront in Doha, Qatar, and the Macau Science Centre in China.

Inspiration

Mr Pei wanted his designs to inspire people. "At one level my goal is simply to give people pleasure in being in a space and walking around it," he said.

"But I also think architecture can reach a level where it influences people to want to do something more with their lives."

The pyramid outside the Louvre, which contrasts with the classic French style of the museum, opened in 1993 with a mixed response.

A slight man who wore distinctive round glasses and was considered to be a skilled diplomat, Mr Pei officially retired in 1990 but continued to work on projects at his New York firm. His wife Eileen, whom he married in 1942, died in 2014.

He is survived by two sons, Chien Chung Pei and Li Chung Pei, as well as a daughter, Liane

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