I.M Pei is one of the most innovative 20th century architects. He has not only transformed our building into modern style, but he has impacted people across the world through his architecture. Buildings started to be viewed as sculpture themselves. He explores new ways of building buildings and invents new forms for a modern society to live in. He established his own firm, I.M Pei & Partners in 1956. Pei has won awards from nation over the world. His major projects include Place Ville Marie, Mile High Center, John Hancock Tower, the pyramidal glass entrance and Richelieu Wing of Louver museum. I chose to read about him because I love modern architectures. Pei is my favourite architect and I hope to learn more about his works through reading this book.
Born into a wealthy and influential family, he received education in his early age. He was enrolled in St. John's Middle School and regarded as the best student in class.
He distinguished himself as a persuasive talker. He was anglicized from traditional Chinese society. At age of 17, he came to the United States to study architecture, and received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1940. From there, he learned the international Style and was fascinated by the work of Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright. In 1942, he enrolled in the Harvard Graduate School of Design where he studied under Walter Gropius. His study in Harvard enriched his knowledge in architecture and enabled him to develop a new, revolutionary style.
In 1948, William Zeckendorf offered him a job at the Webb & Knapp real estate development corporation. During the ten years with Zeckendorf, Pei had grown increasingly mindful and clear-sight in matters that govern urban redevelopment. The move to Webb and Knapp allowed him to design buildings without constraints. His charming, self- assured character also help his career to advanced quickly. Mr. Pei's personal architectural style blossomed in the early 1960s with his design for the National Center for Atmospheric Research. National recognition came in 1964 when Jacqueline Kennedy selected I. M. Pei to design the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston. In 1955 he formed the partnership of I. M. Pei & Associates, which became I. M. Pei & Partners in 1966 and Pei Cobb Freed & Partners in 1989.
However, I.M Pei encountered a major challenge in the construction of the Louvre pyramid. His master plan for the Louver's expansion caused critics and outrages after presenting it to an advisory board. The commission's former chief architect even condemned the scheme as " a gigantic, ruinous gadget." The French believed that the glass pyramid will destroy one of the most important urban spaces in Paris and polluted their culture with American's. Despite of all the adversaries, he continued to struggle and withstood the worst trial of his long career. He imparted unshakable self- assurance and perceived his concerns and depression as part of his job to make people understand his work. He entered a political struggle and campaigned tirelessly. With his tact and patience, he gradually turned the tide. People started to accept his idea and the glass pyramid eventually became the landmark of Paris.
In conclusion, the book is well written and comprehensive. It reveals a vivid history behind Pei's success and offers an insight in his personality. By studying Pei's work, I am able to see different buildings from multiple viewpoints, to move around it, discover its forms and spaces.