One of the last great masters of architecture in the high modernist style, Pei is known for his work in stone, concrete, and glass, including the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado; the expansion of the Louvre in Paris; the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio; and the Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar.
Ieoh Ming Pei was born in China in 1917. His family was wealthy, and the home where Pei grew up is in a garden listed as a World Heritage Site. At the age of seventeen, he immigrated to the United States to study architecture. After he graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the outbreak of World War II prevented him from returning to China, so he remained in the United States to work and to earn a master’s degree from Harvard. He became a U.S. citizen in 1954.
Architect I. M. Pei standing outside a building he designed on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1983.
Pei founded his own firm in 1955 and became known for his creative melding of Eastern and Western ideas of architecture. He has created prizewinning buildings throughout the developed world. His major works in China combine elements of traditional garden architecture with new materials and technology. In 1983, Pei was awarded the prominent Pritzker Architecture Prize. With the $100,000 prize money, he established a scholarship fund for Chinese students to study architecture in the United States and then return home to work.
Jodidio, Philip, and Janet Adams Strong. I. M. Pei: Complete Works. New York: Rizzoli, 2008. Von Boehm, Gero. Conversations with I. M. Pei: Light Is the Key. New York: Prestel, 2000. Wiseman, Carter. I. M. Pei: A Profile in American Architecture. Rev. ed. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2001.