The architect behind the Louvre, the topic of architectural illustrations across the world, Ieoh Ming Pei recently passed away in New York, at the old age of 102 years old. The architectural idol passed away on May 15, 2019, early in the morning.
Ieoh Ming Pei was known for his own distinct brand of modern building design, with architectural illustrations and designs that feature sharp lines and stark structures.
In an interview to The New York Times in 2008, Pei said that contemporary artists impose modernity on things, with a certain concern for history that is very much lacking. He says that he understands that times have changed, and that people have evolved, but he wanted to remember the past, believing that architecture only lasts if they have roots.
His work on the Louvre earned the 1983 Pritzker Prize, considered one of the highest honours in architecture. Of his nearly 50 designs in countries around the world, at least half has received major awards.
Pei was born in China in 1917 to a banker, he migrated to the US at age 17 for his studies in architecture, receiving his undergraduate degree from MIT in 1940. Following that, he enrolled in Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, where he got his Master’s Degree in 1946, before being naturalized as a US citizen in 1954.
In one of his most notable undertakings, he worked on the design on the East Building of the National Gallery of Art, which opened back in 1978, featuring huge mirrored pyramids and a 15m waterfall. A New York Times review, written 30 years after the building’s unveiling , considered one of the key landmarks of modern Washington.
That particular project got the attention of then-French President François Mitter, who then hired Pei to make the glass pyramid that now stands in Louvre.
Originally, the project was deeply controversial in Paris, and Pei received a lot of flak, even getting angry looks on the streets of Paris.
Since his work on the Louvre, he’s been called on to design and create architectural illustrations for several buildings, with one of his most recent works being the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar, which opened in 2008, even in spite of admitting that he was a novice when it comes to Islamic art.
The desert-toned building pays homage to the 13th century Mosque of Ahmad ibn Tulun in Cairo, sporting geometric patterns, with lighting provided by reflected light shining down onto the building.
When the museum opened, Pei admitted that he spent months travelling across the Muslim world to get inspired for the project, as Islam was a religion he wasn’t familiar with, which is why studied the life of Muhammad.