The Pritzker Prize-winning Chinese American architect I.M. Pei has passed away at age 102. In honor of his incredible career, we’re taking a brief look at how he got his start—as well as a few of his most important works.
Born in Guangzhou, China, Pei immigrated to the United States at age 18 to study architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, then transferring to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There, he met Le Corbusier and was profoundly influenced by the modern architect’s sensibility. In 1983, Pei was awarded the prestigious Pritzker Prize for his “versatility and skill in the use of materials [that] approach the level of poetry," according to the jury.
Among Pei’s most notable and eclectic collection of buildings are the Louvre pyramid in Paris, Dallas City Hall, National Gallery of Art, East Building in Washington, D.C., the Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar, and the Bank of China tower in Hong Kong. Difficult to describe under one aesthetic, Pei’s architecture defies categorization:
“I don’t envy the architects who have such a strong stylistic stamp that clients would be disappointed if they do not get the same ‘look’ in their projects … I think I have greater freedom,” he once said.