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I.M. Pei’s Louvre Pyramid wins AIA 25 Year Award

The same week the architect turned 100 years old

A glass and steel pyramid at night set among the courtyard of opulent French buildings.
The Louvre pyramid at night.
Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei is having quite the year. Not only did the Pritzker Prize winner celebrate his 100th birthday last week, he also received the AIA 2017 25 Year Award for his renovation of the Louvre Museum in Paris.

Bestowed by the American Institute of Architects, the annual award is presented to a building that "has stood the test of time for 25 to 35 years, and continues to set standards of excellence for its architectural design and significance.”

In the early 1980s, French President François Mitterrand awarded the renovation of the Louvre to Pei, who was tasked with overhauling the main court as well as the interiors. The pièce de résistance of the projected, completed in 1989, was, of course, the 71-foot-tall glass-and-steel pyramid that marks the entrance to the museum. An inverted pyramid mirrored below within the lobby was completed in 1993.

The award was accepted by Pei’s son Chien Chung Pei and colleague George Miller, a partner at Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. Accepting the award on behalf of his father, the younger Pei said, “He wanted me to thank you for this. It's really—I think—the ultimate compliment...for contemporary architecture that it is a 25 year award... Not to downplay the other awards, but after 25 years, you really know whether it has withstood the test of time.”