Some of the most renowned architects tend to be inclined to live long lives. From Frank Lloyd Wright, who passed at the age of 91, to Oscar Niemeyer who lived to 104 and others, it’s not surprising that one of the world’s leading and influential architects I.M. Pei is helping to make this a truth. Pei passed in 2019 at the age of 101 and has left a legacy that many other building creators could only dream of.
Why is I.M. Pei one of the world’s best? The legendary Chinese architect had a long and illustrious career of revolutionizing the design scene with unique and enigmatic structures, from the Louvre Pyramid in Paris to Ohio’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Below are some of my favorites:
The Louvre Pyramid
Arguably one of Pei’s greatest most famed designs, the large glass and metal pyramid is iconic and unmatched when it comes to art, design and destinations to visit within Paris. The Pyramid was actually commissioned by the President of France in 1984 and is built entirely with glass segments and metal poles, reaching a height of 71 feet. Inside, looking out, you will get an awe-inspiring view of the Louvre Museum that is worth the photo.
Museum of Islamic Art
You’ll find this quintessential Middle-East Museum in the Qatari capital of Doha. Pei actually selected the museum to be built on an island off an artificial peninsula near the dhow harbor. Pei came out of retirement to build this masterpiece and finished it in 2008 when he was an old man (91 years old!).
John F. Kennedy Library
Pei began working on the library in 1964. Fun fact – the building was selected by Jackie Kennedy herself. It was just one of the first large scale projects that were commissioned to cement his legacy in the United States. Pei was relatively unknown at the time, but Mrs. Kennedy saw the promise in his imagination and after spending time with many architects, selected him to create her vision.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio is easily one of Pei’s most signature structures. Standing tall with a 162 foot tower, and a glass pyramid, the unique and quintessential Pei building offers seven levels and a great view of Lake Erie and its waterfront.