I. M. Pei biography

I. M. Pei


1917 –


Who is I. M. Pei?

Ieoh Ming Pei, commonly known as I. M. Pei, is a Chinese American architect often called a master of modern architecture. Born in Canton and raised in Hong Kong and Shanghai, Pei drew inspiration at an early age from the gardens at Suzhou. In 1935, he moved to the United States and enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania's architecture school, but quickly transferred to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was unhappy with the focus at both schools on Beaux-Arts architecture, and spent his free time researching emerging architects, especially Le Corbusier. After graduating, he joined the Harvard Graduate School of Design and became friends with the Bauhaus architects Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer. In 1939, he married Eileen Loo, who had introduced him to the GSD community. They have been married for over seventy years, and have four children, including architects Chien Chung "Didi" Pei and Li Chung "Sandi" Pei Pei owners of Pei Partnership Architects.

In 1948 Mr. Pei was recruited by New York real estate magnate William Zeckendorf. There he spent seven years before establishing his own independent design firm I. M. Pei & Associates in 1955 which became I.M. Pei & Partners in 1966 and later in 1989 became Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. Mr. Pei retired from full-time practice in 1990. Since then, he has taken on work as an architectural consultant primarily from his sons’ architectural firm Pei Partnership Architects. Among the early projects on which Pei took the lead were the L'Enfant Plaza Hotel in Washington, DC and the Green Building at MIT. His first major recognition came with the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado; his new stature led to his selection as chief architect for the John F. Kennedy Library in Massachusetts. He went on to design Dallas City Hall and the East Building of the National Gallery of Art.


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Apr 26, 1917
Also known as
  • Bèi Yùmíng
  • Ieoh Ming Pei
  • Chinese American
  • United States of America
  • St. Paul's College, Hong Kong
  • Saint John's University, Shanghai
  • Bachelor of Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    ( - 1940)
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Master's Degree, Harvard Graduate School of Design
    ( - 1946)
  • Pei Cobb Freed & Partners
Lived in
  • Guangzhou

on July 23, 2013

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