I.M. Pei

Louvres PyramideI. M. Pei is a notable Chinese American architect who is considered as the last in the line of masters of high modernist architecture. His works primarily deal with the use of the abstract form as well as the use of stone, concrete, steel and glass.

A Pritzker Prize awardee, I.M. Pei also considered as one of the most successful and notable architects to come out of Asia in the 20th Century. His works and designs can be found in many structures built all around the world.

Early Life

I.M. Pei, which is short for Ieoh Ming Pei, was born on April 26, 1917 Guangzhou in Guangdong, Republic of China. Pei came from a prominent family in Suzhou, Jiangsu. That lived in the area since the 15th Century. Pei’s father was a banker who became the a director of the Bank of China and also the governor of the Central Bank of China.

The family later on relocated to Hong Kong where Pei stayed until he finished junior high school. Pei’s family then moved to Shanghai when his father took the directorship in the Bank of China.


Pei took up primary and secondary education in China. He then proceeded to go to the United States in order to study architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. He was able to receive his Bachelor of Architecture from the Massachusetts institute of Technology in 1940.

He also went on to study at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He received his Master’s degree in Architecture in Harvard in 1946.


Aside from working as a member of the Harvard faculty, Pei also started working in 1948 for a real estate development corporation as Director of Architecture.

While at this firm, Pei was able to work on various large scale architectural and planning projects and began to design his own buildings in the modernistic style that he eventually became known for. By 1955, Pei founded his own architectural firm after having been made a naturalized American citizen in 1954.

Notable Designs

Probably the most notable design attributed to I.M. Pei is the Louvre Pyramid. It is a glass and steel pyramid structure that stood about 20 meters high and built in front of the Louvre Museum in Paris, France. The pyramid contained an underground lobby to accommodate the increasing visitors of the museum of which the original main entrance can no longer handle.

Image Source: Wikipedia

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