Ieoh Ming Pei was born in 1917 in Canton, China. Pei's father was a banker and traveled around a lot, sometimes taking Pei with him. That's how he got interested in architecture so in 1935, Pei came to America. He enrolled at MIT and later at Harvard where he studied architecture and engineering. At Harvard he met his future wife, Eileen Loo, and made the acquaintance of other students such as Breuer and Gropius.
In 1948, William Zeckendorf of Webb & Knapp, Inc., one of the largest developers in the US, hired Pei. He was plunged into the growing industry of urban development where he showed himself to be a very good architect. He worked with Zeckendorf full-time until 1955. Some of Pei's more notable projects with him were the Mile High Center in Denver, Place Ville-Marie in Montreal, Society Hill in Philadelphia and Kips Bay in New York.
Pei's own firm opened in 1955 with a reputation for bold and modern buildings that blend with their environment. His major breakthrough can with the Everson Art Museum at Syracuse University. Pei saw it as a chance to do something and the result was a complex arrangement of interlocking geometric shapes. At the same time, Pei was selected to design the Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colerado. With the buildings reddish towers, it seems to melt into the background, and consequentially, brought Pei much attention.
Some of Pei's other famous buildings include the East wing of the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. The building is a maze of geometric shapes and angles, made of class and concrete. It even has an external waterfall that can be seen through glass on the inside.
The underground corridor that connects the East to the West wing is extremely modern with glass pyramid skylights.
He also designed the underground extension to the Louvre museum in Paris. Also using glass pyramids, the main one is 71 feet high and lets visitors into the reception center below.
Recently, Pei again demonstrated his abilities in designing the Bank of China in Hong Kong and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. Both structures are very different from each other, but both embrace the new style of architecture for this coming era.
| Time Periods
| Ask Us |