I. M. Pei: Still Go Home Again

At the age of ninety, I M Pei has demonstrated that perhaps one can fulfill the promise of youth, and still go home again.       — Carter Wiseman

suzhou m-pbs.org

(photo from PBS .org)

In 1935, I. M. Pei came to the United State in pursuing graduate studies. His goal was going back to help build future China after finishing his study. When the Chinese Communist took over, Pei had to choose to stay in the U.S. and became a U.S. citizen. He said, “It was very difficult for me to give up my Chinese citizenship.”

In 2000, Pei accepted the Suzhou Museum commission, he was 83 years old. He said that it was emotionally special to him since his family had the connection to Suzhou for over six hundred years. When he was a young boy, Pei used to go Suzhou from Shanghai (75 miles west) to visit his grandfather. For Pei, this commission was very much a way of going home. When the building was completed, Pei was almost 89 years old.


(photo wiki commons)

The museum has a gross floor area of 183,000 sq feet (17,000 sq m). Pei wanted  the traditional Chinese garden to be part of the museum, thus he made an effort to locate 50 rocks in Shandong province (475.8 miles north of China) and had them shipped to Suzhou.

Suzhou M- 3

sozhou M -Flicker

(Photos from Flicker)

In the words of his biographer, Pei has won “every award of any consequence in his art.”  That includes the Pritzker Prize, sometimes called the Nobel Prize of architecture. The jury said: “Ieoh Ming Pei has given this century some of its most beautiful interior spaces and exterior forms … His versatility and skill in the use of materials approach the level of poetry.

suzhou m-pbs.org-1

(photo from PBS.org)

He is 96 years old today. Happy Birthday, Mr. Pei!

IM Pei


In 2008, Mr. Pei completed the Museum of Islamic Art, and he was 91 years old. He described it as his last major cultural building.

islamic art m-1

Pei wanted a stand-alone island for the structure to avoid the encroachment on other buildings. Thus, this museum was built on a man-made island (64 acres) above the water, approximately 195 feet (59 m) off the Doha Corniche.

islamic art museum-1

Thank you for visiting! 

Part I: An Architect of His Time

Louvre pyramid -01

Part II: It Is A Work Of Our Time


Mihon Museum

miho-path-1 miho.or.jp

57 thoughts on “I. M. Pei: Still Go Home Again

  1. Thank you so much for your comment. Palla! Putting them together gave me a chance to appreciate his work all over again. It’s a wonderful feeling when you and other blogging friends are letting me share the stories.


  2. Amy, What a gorgeous building and an incredible man. I was first introduced to his work when we moved to Dallas early in our careers and learned he had designed the new City Hall – a very striking building. Since then I’ve been a fan. And when I saw the controversial Louvre Pyramid, my heart soared! Thanks for such a lovely tribute to a lovely man. All the best, Terri


    • I am so happy we share the same appreciation of Pei’s design. I also visited the Dallas City Hall and the Symphony Hall in Dallas 🙂 His vision for the functionality of the building for people is remarkable. Thank you so much for following this mini series, Terri!


    • I thought about your mentioning of the trip when I was posting this post. I’ve seen nearly all his major works in US, I hope to get to see this one in the future.


  3. Wow, just wow! Excellent photographs but even better the indepth info on this amazing man. Thank you Amy! It was (as always a joy to visit you) hopefully (I have cut back a little on posting) I will be able to visit more frequently! Take care of you my friend ~ Penny xx


  4. Pingback: Architecture of Symmetry – Suzhou | spaceship china

  5. Pingback: Monochrome Madness and Colorful Monotones | The World Is a Book...

  6. Great tribute to such a remarkable architect.I have known him from the Louvre glass pyramid Dear Amy!
    Amazing collection of fabulous photos my friend !Loved the night shot,it’s out of this world !


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