From The Louvre to Bossone, I.M. Pei left his mark

Originally Posted on The Triangle via UWIRE

The Edmund D. Bossone Research Enterprise Center designed by I.M. Pei himself is one of Drexel’s most photogenic buildings on campus, close behind Main Building and LeBow. (Photograph by Ben Ahrens for The Triangle.)

I.M. Pei, the Chinese-American Pritzker Prize-winning architect world-renowned for his designs often incorporating high amount of glass, has died. He was 102.

Mr. Pei’s son, Li Chung, announced that his father had died on the night of May 15, however, no cause of death has been given.

Mr. Pei’s best known works include the Glass Pyramid in the courtyard of the Louvre Pyramid in Paris, the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland, all three of which heavily incorporated glass into their designs to allow better usage of light. It may come as a surprise – Mr. Pei also designed Drexel University’s Edmund D. Bossone Research Enterprise Center in 2003.

“It is good to learn from the ancients,” Mr. Pei had said in an interview with The Guardian in 2010. “They had a lot of time to think about architecture and landscape. Today, we rush everything, but architecture is slow, and the landscapes it sits in even slower.”

Mr. Pei was offered, at one point, a place at Oxford. However, he chose instead to study architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, due to his love for American culture.

“I liked the America of Bing Crosby, Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton – it was all a dream, of course, but a very alluring dream for a young man from Canton,” Mr. Pei once stated.

Mr. Pei would later transfer to MIT due to a greater interest in modern architecture, where he would later obtain his degree. While studying at MIT, however, he discovered the work of Le Corbusier, the father of modern architecture, a style that would greatly influence his own creations, including the Bossone Research Center.

“As a young man, of course I had been looking for something new, even revolutionary. I knew what Le Corbusier was doing. I wanted to go his way. But, after some years, I began to think differently. I became interested in a modern architecture that made connections to place, history and nature. Modern architecture needed to be part of an evolutionary, not a revolutionary, process,” Mr. Pei said.

Mr. Pei is survived by his three children. His two sons, Chien Chung and Li Chung, are also architects, and Mr. Pei’s daughter is a lawyer. Mr. Pei’s wife, Eileen Loo, died in 2014, after being married for 72 years. No funeral arrangements have been announced.

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