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World-renowned architect I.M. Pei dies at 102

By
Daniel Uria
Architect I.M. Pei died at the age of 102, his son said on Thursday. File Photo by Ezio Petersen UPI
Architect I.M. Pei died at the age of 102, his son said on Thursday. File Photo by Ezio Petersen UPI | License Photo

May 16 (UPI) -- World-renowned architect I.M. Pei died at the age of 102, his family said Thursday.

Pei's son, Li Chung Pei, who is also an architect, told The New York Times that his father died overnight.

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Throughout his career Pei designed multiple landmark structures including the East Building of Washington D.C.,'s National Gallery of Art, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and the glass pyramid at the entry to the Louvre in Paris.

Pei was born on April 26, 1917, in Guangzhou, China, as Ieoh Ming Pei. His father worked as a banker and his mother was an artist.

He immigrated to the United States for college and attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received a bachelor's degree in architecture in 1940.

While at MIT, Pei volunteered for the National Defense Research Committee where he worked fusing bombs during World War II.

Pei taught at Harvard briefly and planned to return to China, when William Zeckendorf recruited him to join his architectural firm Webb and Knapp in 1948.

Pei worked designing buildings across the country and taking his own commissions, including the Luce Memorial Chapel in Taiwan and the Green Earth Sciences building at MIT until 1960, when he launched his own independent firm, I.M. Pei and Associates.

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Upon starting his own firm, Pei designed numerous structures in New York including the National Airlines terminal at John F. Kennedy Airport and the Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University.

He gained notoriety as an architect after Jaqueline Kennedy selected him to design the John F. Kennedy Library in 1964.

Pei was honored with numerous awards for his work including the Priztker Prize, which is considered one of the highest honors for an architect.

He is survived by his sons Li Chung Pei and Chieng Chung Pei. His wife Eileen Loo Pei died in 2014 and their oldest son T'ing Chung Pei died in 2003 at the age of 57.

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