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Architect IM Pei Dies at 102: A Look at His Most Iconic Designs

The son of a prominent banker from China, Ieoh Ming Pei, left his homeland in 1935 and moved to the United States.

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Updated:May 17, 2019, 11:51 AM IST
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Architect IM Pei Dies at 102: A Look at His Most Iconic Designs
The Bank of China building designed by IM Pei. (Image: Reuters)

Regarded as one of the world's foremost designers of civic centres and cultural institutions, I.M. Pei, the American modernist architect is no more.

The stalwart, credited with the creation of designs including the National Gallery of Art’s East Building, the glass pyramid at the entrance to the Louvre in Paris and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland died on May 16 at a hospital in Manhattan at the grand old age of 102.

The son of a prominent banker from China, Ieoh Ming Pei, left his homeland in 1935 and moved to the United States. After studying architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University and teaching and working for the U.S. government, he went to work for a New York developer in 1948 and started his own firm in 1955 which came to be known as Pei Cobb Freed & Partners in 1989.

Known for strict geometrics in his work that embodies a combination of squares, circles and triangles, we take a look at 5 of his most iconic designs over the years.

Le Grand Louvre, Paris, France: One of the most iconic structures in the world today, Pei's addition to the Musée du Louvre in Paris was highly controversial with both the museum's leadership and the public when it was first proposed. The structure played an important role in the film Da Vinci Code.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, USA: Featuring two huge triangular glass surfaces that are propped up by a 162-foot-tall tower, it aims, according to Pei, was to capture the "energy" of the rock music movement in its architecture.

National Gallery of Art East Building, Washington DC, USA: The addition to the American National Gallery of Art is markedly different in form. Its plan comprises a larger isosceles and smaller right-angled triangle, subsequently creating triangular and diamond-shaped spaces inside.

Luce Memorial Chapel, Taichung, Taiwan: The Christian chapel sits on the campus of Tunghai University – which was also planned by Pei. The building sees curving brick walls rising from both sides to meet at a slither of glass that runs along the top and continues down behind the alter.

Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar: Located on an artificial island on the Arabian Gulf, the building saw Pei using rigorous geometric patterns that are found in traditional Islamic designs to create the museum, which is a five-storey tower above a central atrium.

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