Apr 26, 1917
AmericanMassachusetts Institute Of TechnologyUniversity Of PennsylvaniaArchitectsTaurus Celebrities
@Master of Modern Architecture, Timeline and Family
I. M. Pei born at
In 1942, he married fellow architect Eileen Loo and together they went on to have children Chien Chung Pei, Li Chung Pei, T’ing Chung, and Liane Pei. His wife died in June 2014.
During the mid 1970s, plates of glass fell out of his John Hancock Tower in Boston, and his reputation was questioned. He took the criticism in stride and went on to develop even more extensive glass buildings such as his Allied Bank Tower in Dallas, the Louvre Museum, and the famous Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Ohio.
According to the Pritzker Architecture committee, his strengths lie in his ability to “draw together disparate people and disciplines to create a harmonious environment.”
I. M. Pei was born on April 26, 1917 in Suzhou, China, to Tsuyee Pei and Lien Kwun. His father was a prmonent banker. Pei lost his mother to cancer, when he was thirteen.
He came to the United States at the young age of 17. His reason for immigrating was to receive an American education focusing on Architecture.
He received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from MIT in 1940. Originally, he began his studies at the University of Pennsylvania, but he believed their curriculum was lacking in his area of interest, structural engineering.
In 1946, he was awarded his Masters in Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Once he got his degree, he was appointed assistant professor.
While still enrolled in Harvard, his education was interrupted in 1943 when he served on the National Defense Research Committee. During WWII, this committee was set to conduct research on the devices of warfare.
From 1945 to 1948, he got his architectural career started by teaching as an assistant professor at Harvard. Here, he befriended two students with whom he was able to design several low-cost houses, winning recognition in the Arts and Architecture magazine.
In 1948, he accepted the prestigious position of Director of Architecture at Webb & Knapp, a real estate company. While with the company, he was able to produce his first successful project, when he designed a two-story corporate building for Gulf Oil in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1949.
During his stint with Webb & Knapp, he designed Mile High Center in Colorado and a united urban area for Washington, D.C., namely, L'Enfant Plaza.
In 1955, he decided to break free and established his own architectural firm called I.M. Pei & Associates.
After the passing of President John F. Kennedy, he worked closely with Jacqueline Kennedy on building the nine-story glass and concrete presidential library. It was completed in 1979 and launched his global career forward. Pei himself feels this building was “the most important commission” in his life.
The most iconic and well known representation of Pei’s work is the famous entrance to Paris’s Louvre museum. The large glass pyramid was completed in 1989 as a modern view of history and architecture.