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Ieoh Ming Pei ( , Bèi Yùmíng) (born April 26, 1917), commonly known by his initials I. M. Pei, is a Pritzker Prize-winning Chinese-born American architect, known as the last master of high modernist architecture.

Early life and education

Pei was born in Cantonmarker (pinyin: Guangzhou), Chinamarker on April 26, 1917, to a prominent family from Suzhoumarker. His father, a banker, was later the director of the Bank of China and the governor of the Central Bank of China. His family later moved to Shanghai, but resided in his native city Suzhoumarker, a city near Shanghai. The family's residence, Lion Grove Gardenmarker, is a renowned classical garden in Suzhou, now part of the World Heritage Site listed Classical Gardens of Suzhou. The garden is famed for its collection of Tai Lakemarker stones, the aesthetically rich shapes of which are naturally carved by the waters of the lake. Pei loved how the buildings and the nature were combined, and especially liked the way light and shadow mixed.

His first education was at St. Paul's College, Hong Kong (primary school), and then at Saint John's University, Shanghai (high school) before moving to the United States to study architecture at the age of 18 at the University of Pennsylvaniamarker. He received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technologymarker in 1940. He is a 1940 recipient of the Alpha Rho Chi Medal, the MIT Traveling Fellowship, and the AIA Gold Medal. He then studied at the Harvard Graduate School of Designmarker. Shortly after his studies there, he was a member of the National Defense Research Committee in Princeton, New Jerseymarker.

In 1944, he returned to Harvard, studying under Walter Gropius, who was previously associated with the Bauhaus. He received a Master's degree in Architecture in 1946. He was a member of the Harvard faculty subsequently attaining the rank of assistant professor. He received the Wheelwright Traveling Fellowship in 1951 and became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1954.


In 1948, William Zeckendorf hired Pei to work at the real estate development corporation Webb and Knapp in a newly created post, Director of Architecture. While at Webb and Knapp, Pei worked on many large-scale architectural and planning projects across the country and designed his buildings mostly in the manner of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

Pei founded his own architectural firm in 1955, which was originally known as I. M. Pei and Associates and, later, I. M. Pei & Partners until 1989 when it became known as Pei Cobb Freed & Partners recognizing James Ingo Freed and Henry N. Cobb.


Ambassador Ann L.
Wagner hosts a reception for American Architect I.M.
Pei to celebrate the opening of his latest project, the Musee d'Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean (MUDAM) in Luxembourg

I.M. Pei is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architectsmarker and a Corporate Member of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He has also been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciencesmarker, the National Academy of Designmarker, and the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. In 1975 he was elected to the American Academy, which is restricted to a lifetime membership of fifty members. In 1978, he became Chancellor of the American Academy, the first architect to hold that position. He served until 1980. Mr. Pei was inducted a "Membre de l'Institut de France" in 1984, and decorated by the French government as a Commandeur in the "Ordre des Arts et des Lettres" in 1985. On July 4, 1986, he was one of twelve naturalized American citizens to receive the Medal of Liberty from President Ronald Reagan. Two years later French president François Mitterrand inducted I. M. Pei as a Chevalier in the Légion d'Honneur. In November 1993 he was raised to Officier. Also in 1993, he was elected an Honorary Academician of the Royal Academy of Artsmarker in London. In 1997 the Académie d'Architecture de France elected him Foreign Member. IM Pei has been named as the recipient of the 2010 RIBA Royal Gold Medal.

Family and later life

In 1990, Pei retired from his firm but still maintains an office there. He has 4 children, 2 of them architects. Two of his sons, Chien Chung (Didi) Pei and Li Chung (Sandi) Pei, after leaving their father's firm, established their own practice, Pei Partnership Architects in 1992. I. M. Pei still participates in design work with both Pei Cobb Freed and Partners and Pei Partnership Architects.

Selected works

Image:National_Center_for_Atmospheric_Research_-_Boulder,_Colorado.jpg|1961 — National Center for Atmospheric Researchmarker, Boulder, ColoradomarkerImage:THU Luce Memorial Chapel.jpg|1963 — Luce Memorial Chapelmarker, Tunghai Universitymarker, TaiwanmarkerImage:Green Building, MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts.JPG|1964 — Green Buildingmarker, Massachusetts Institute of TechnologymarkerImage:Choate_Rosemary_Hall_-_Arts_Center.JPG|1972 — Paul Mellon Arts Center, Choate Rosemary Hall, Wallingford, ConnecticutmarkerImage:National_gallery_of_art_usa2.jpg|1974 — The East Building of the National Gallery of ArtmarkerImage:IU Art Museum.jpg|1978 — Indiana University Art Museummarker at Indiana Universitymarker in Bloomington, IndianamarkerImage:Bank of china night.jpg|1989 — Bank of China Towermarker, Hong KongmarkerImage:Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.jpg|1995 — The Rock and Roll Hall of Famemarker in Cleveland, Ohiomarker, United Statesmarker; showing Lake Eriemarker in the foregroundImage:Mudam_opening_25.jpg|2006 — Musée d'Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Mudammarker LuxembourgmarkerImage:DohaMOIA.jpg| 2008 — The Museum of Islamic Artmarker, Dohamarker, Qatarmarker

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