IM Pei death: World-renowned architect who redesigned the Louvre dies, aged 102

IM Pei death: World-renowned architect who redesigned the Louvre dies, aged 102

May 17, 2019 Off By readly

I. M. Pei, one of the last 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 United States.

A spokesperson for Mr Pei’s New York architecture firm confirmed the death on Thursday and his son said he died overnight.

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 at the age of 17 to study architecture. His works ranged from the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC to the towers of the National Centre of Atmospheric Research that blend in with the reddish mountains in Boulder, Colorado.

He also designed 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 just off the waterfront in Doha, Qatar, and the Macau Science Centre in China.

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. That is the challenge that I find most interesting.”

The Paris Louvre by night (Getty Images)

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. 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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