Where one may try to create the illusion of light and shadows with paint and electrical fixtures, architect I.M. Pei has claimed mastery over shadows and bends them to his will. As seen from his stunning designs that have been erected all over the globe, Pei knows how to impress with sheer skill and talent.
I.M. Pei, named Leoh Ming Pei was born in Canton China in April 26, 1917. At a young age he began noticing and appreciating the design of his surroundings. Growing up in Suzhou, just outside of Shanghai , in a garden setting, he was particularly drawn to the mixture of buildings against the contrasting backdrop of nature.
Fascinated by the prolific rock formations in that are carved by nature, he found himself considering the effects of light contrasted by its shadow, and so began his passion for design.
Deciding to study architecture in the U.S. I.M. Pei immigrated at the age of 18 and began his studies at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1940, he received his bachelor’s degree from MIT as well as the Alpha Rho Chi Medal, an MIT traveling fellowship and an AIA Gold Medal.
After a brief reprise from studies, Pei went on to receive his Master’s degree at Harvard University in 1946. By 1955 Pei had founded his own architectural firm that would eventually be known as Pei Cobb Freed & Partners.
Through this firm Pei, would design and oversee the building of his master pieces as they were built in cities all over the world including Hong Kong China, Doha Qatar, and Taichung Taiwan.
Perhaps his most famous project was the glass pyramid at the Louvre in Paris France.
Among his architectural accomplishments, I.M. Pei has been honored and decorated in three Countries. France, England and the U.S. have all stepped up to honor Pei and give him recognition for his incredible work including a Medal of Liberty bestowed upon him by the late President Ronald Reagan.
He has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Design, and the American Academy. He has also been inducted into France’s Légion d'Honneur by French president François Mitterrand.
His list of lifetime achievements go on to include a number of awards, medals and titles too lengthy to list here.
In his personal life, Pei has raised four children, two of which followed in his footsteps and became successful architects with a firm of their own. In 1990 Pei retired, but keeps an office at his firm Pei Cobb Freed and Partners where he still dabbles in creating architectural masterpieces.
Since his retirement Pei has overseen many projects. Some of his most recent work has been with the Musée d'Art Moderne in Kitchberg Luxembourg, and the Buck Institute for Age Research in Marin County, California.
When we consider Pei’s lifelong work of bringing light and shadow under the reigns of his mastery, we can be certain, that the shadows of his dreams will stretch out over many generations to come as they gaze at his magnificent designs in awe.