I M Pei, Louvre pyramid architect, dies aged 102

People reflected in glass pyramids outside the National of Art in Washingt

FILE - The exterior of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, designed by architect I.M. Pei. He went on to build his own firm, I. M. Pei & Associates, which he set up in 1955.

I.M. Pei, who died Thursday at the age of 102, was an architect of singular vision.

I.M. Pei, the internationally renowned architect and planner who controversially reshaped downtown Oklahoma City, died Wednesday night at age 102. In the late 1960s, he completed the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, the Everson Museum of Art in NY and the Des Moines Art Center in Iowa, before working on the Louvre, the National Gallery of Art and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

Among his most well-known projects were the Louvre Pyramid in Paris, the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston. Later in life, with buildings like the Miho Museum outside Kyoto and the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, he deftly translated his modernist vocabulary into different cultural contexts, and perhaps nowhere more so than in China. He topped it off with a transparent tent-like structure, which was "open - like the music", he said.

"Pei's contribution to the physical environment of MIT has been significant, with several key buildings that established the form of the contemporary campus", says Andrew Scott, professor and acting head of the Department of Architecture. They had four children, two of whom became architects.

Winning the fifth Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1983, he was cited as giving the 20th century "some of its most handsome interior spaces and exterior forms ..."

- 1992: He is awarded the Medal of Freedom, the highest U.S. civilian honour.

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Pei officially retired in 1990.

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.

He is survived by his sons Li Chung Pei and Chieng Chung Pei. It was established by the tiny, oil-rich nation to compete with rival Persian Gulf countries for global attention and investment. Soon thereafter, officials asked Pei to design a modern high-rise hotel in central Beijing - an aspirational gesture for the then-impoverished nation.

Pei was in his mid-40s and already earning worldwide accolades when he was hired by city fathers who were seeking to launch an urban renewal program in the early 1960s.

Hai Do adapted this story for Learning English based on Reuters and New York Times news reports.

He established his own architectural firm in 1955, a year after he became a US citizen. Among the firm's accomplishments are the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

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