I.M. Pei passes away at 102


I.M. Pei passes away at 102

I.M. Pei in 2017 (Courtesy Pei Cobb Freed & Partners)

Legendary architect, founder of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners (originally I.M. Pei & Associates), and 1983 Pritzker Prize winner I.M. Pei reportedly passed away last night at age 102.

The 2017 winner of the Twenty-five Year Award was the Grand Louvre, by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners (Courtesy AIA)
The pyramid addition to the Louvre by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners (Courtesy AIA)

Pei’s influence could be felt all over the world, from the National Gallery of Art, East Building, in Washington, D.C., to the iconic pyramidal glass entrance to the Louvre in Paris, to the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong.

The Everson Museum of Art Scott Basile
The exterior today of The Everson Museum (Scott Basile)

Pei’s lesser recognized, but still no less impressive, Brutalist museums like the 1968 Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, New York, or the 1973 Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art in Ithaca, New York, reflected Pei’s relationships with modernists like Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer and their work, and introduced groundbreaking modern architecture to smaller cities.

Not all of Pei’s most notable work still stands, and some of his grandest designs stayed on the page. Sunning Plaza in Hong Kong was demolished in 2013, Terminal 6, the Sundrome of New York’s JFK International Airport was pulled down in 2011, and the 102-story, nuclear bomb-resistant Grand Central replacement, the Hyperboloid, never got off the ground (but was later immortalized in Never Built New York).

Photo of the National Gallery of Art, East Building
National Gallery of Art, East Building (Son of Groucho/Flickr)

Pei, originally born in Guangzhou, China, in 1917, moved to the United States in 1935 to attend architecture school at the University of Pennsylvania. Pei was unsatisfied and eventually left for MIT, before graduating and later attending the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

AN will follow this announcement with a longer obituary.