Ieoh Ming Pei, a China borne American architect passed away on Thursday at the age of 102. Pei will be remembered not only for having one of the longest professional careers but also for the kind of works he had done during his lifetime. He has left many landmarks behind him all over the world.
Born in China in 1917, Pei immigrated to the United States and studied architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. He advanced from his early work of designing office buildings, low-income housing and mixed-used complexes to a worldwide collection of museums, municipal buildings and hotels.
Pei had forged a distinct brand of modern building design with his sharp lines and stark structures. He was the mastermind behind the bold Louvre pyramid in Paris, the landmark 72-storey Bank of China tower in Hong Kong and the striking Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar’s capital, Doha.
The Louvre Pyramid is a large glass and metal pyramid which had attracted criticism for its shape and style and also for the selection of an outside architect. However, the design has been mimicked by others too notably the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.
The Museum of Islamic Art, another creation of Pei, is built on an island off an artificial projecting peninsula near the traditional dhow harbor. The museum is influenced by ancient Islamic architecture, yet has a uniquely modern design involving geometric patterns. It is the first of its kind to feature over 14 centuries of Islamic art in the Arab States of the Persian Gulf.
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.
One of the biggest moments in his life came in 1964 when he was chosen over many prestigious architects, such as Louis Kahn and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, to design the John F Kennedy Memorial Library in Boston.