An Art Paradise in the Mountains (Part 2)

“His magnificent designs have challenged engineers to devise innovative structural solutions, and his exacting expectations for construction quality have encouraged contractors to achieve high standards.”. Pei has won “every award of any consequence in his art.

In 1983 Pei was awarded the Pritzker Prize, sometimes called the Nobel Prize of architecture.

In December 1992,I.M. Pei was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George H. W. Bush.

Born 26 April 1917

This is Part II of An Art Paradise in the Mountains, Miho Museum, Japan.

Inside of the museum continues the theme by contrasting steel and glass with warm stone as to provide panoramic views of the surrounding valleys.

The real challenge for I.M. Pei was to accommodate the space at the same time preserve the landscape of the mountains.

To preserve nature, Pei decided to remove the top of the mountain where the museum was to be located. When the building is completed, he replaced the mountain along with 7,000 trees and other plantings.  As a result, 80% of the building is below ground.

To provide a theatrical sense of arrival the “Tale of Peach Blossom Spring”, Pei decided to dig a 660 ft tunnel then build a 400-ft bridge.

He built a single “king post” set to support this bridge, stretching from one angle into the mountain slope.

Even the cafeteria of the museum offers a grand view of mountains and trees.


We took an afternoon break in the beautiful cafeteria. It was a special treat to enjoy the Japanese tea and a tea cake, while looking out the window watching the breathtaking view; and I thought I was on another planet.

How he replaced the mountain along with 7,000 trees and other plantings is beyond anyone’s imagination.

“I think you can see a very conscious attempt on my part to make the silhouette of the building comfortable in the natural landscape.”   — I.M. Pei

In addition to the art collections of the world, the owner of the museum designated a long hallway to acknowledge I.M. Pei’s life-long achievements. Looking through the exhibit and watching the video, visitors can understand his determination of achieving the goal of preserving nature and the idea of “The Tale of Peach Blossom Spring” for the Miho Museum.


  • When Pei completed this massive architecture in 1997, he was 80 years old.

  • Pei also convinced Mrs. Koyama to expand her collection to showcasing the Silk Route presenting the culture link that stretched from the Middle East through India, China, and Korea. Thus, Pei was also instrumental in selecting the collection pieces.


These are a few of  Pei’s famous architecture designs:

Photos below are from various Internet sources.

Pei completed the Museum of Islamic Art when he was 91 years old. He described it as his last major cultural building. This museum was built on a man-made island (64 acres) above the water, approximately 195 feet (59 m) off the Doha Corniche.

Photos below are from

Museum of Islamic Art Doha

Museum of Islamic Art Doha

This is An Art Paradise in the Mountains Part II. Click here for Part I.

Today, April 26th, is Mr. Pei’s 101 birthday. Happy Birthday.

Thank you for visiting.

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