Ieoh Ming Pei was born in Guangzhou, China in 1917 and raised in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Better known as I.M. Pei he moved to the U.S. in 1935.
His mentors were Le Corbusier who he met while attending MIT in 1935 and Frank Lloyd Wright. While atending MIT and Harvard he befriended Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer.
As a child he learned English from reading the Bible and Charles Dickens in the Protestant school run by missionaries that he attended. He loved Hollywood and especially Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. Watching Bing Crosby movies inspired him to move to America to attend college.
His most controversial building is the glass and steel pyramid he designed for the Louvre museum in Paris in the early 1980’s. He has won many prizes in architecture most notibly the Pritzker Prize sometimes called the Nobel Prize of architecture.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis chose I.M. Pei to construct the memorial library dedicated to President John F. Kennedy after his assassination in 1963. She felt he was an architect full of promise like Kennedy was, and he was born the same year as the President. Pei considers this commission to be the most important of his life, filled with symbolism for optimism. It was dedicated on October 20, 1979.
His body of work is enormous, I. M. Pei still dazzles us with his vision and style. Modernistic with cubist themes he combines traditional elements of architecture with progressive design based on geometric patterns.
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