07 March 2008

I.M. Pei

Funny thing... As I was perusing the life and work of I.M. Pei, I ran across a building on the CU campus! I remember walking past the building (and all buildings on the east or west or north or south-don't know what direction!) and thinking, 'What a ghastly building!' I do not know if it is the material (brick color alone is foul) or the angularity of it all against the Flatirons--who knows? (I certainly don't--I just know what I like!) I was just reading about him and somewhere it states that his concern has always been the surroundings in which his buildings rise. That completely goes against what I was saying about the backdrop in Boulder. Anyway, other than CU, his work in my eyes is progressive and bold. And more importantly, I like his overall physical appearance (sounds shallow, but heck, look at the guy--what a dapper lad!)
Ieoh Ming Pei was born in Canton, China in 1917. He left China when he was eighteen to study architecture at MIT and Harvard. Between 1942 and 1945, he worked as a concrete designer for Stone and Webster, and in 1946 he began work in the office of Hugh Asher Stubbins, in Boston. Pei worked as an instructor and then as an assistant professor at Harvard before he joined Webb & Knapp Inc. in New York in 1948. Pei worked as the head of the architectural division of Webb and Knapp, Inc. until 1960, when he resigned and founded his own architectural office, I. M. Pei & Partners, New York, which in 1979 became Pei, Cobb, Free & Partners. Due to his reliance on abstract form and materials such as stone, concrete, glass, and steel, Pei has been considered a disciple of Walter Gropius. However, Pei shows little concern with theory. He does not believe that architecture must find forms to express the times or that it should remain isolated from commercial forces. Pei generally designs sophisticated glass clad buildings loosely related to the high-tech movement. However, many of his designs result from original design concepts. He frequently works on a large scale and is renowned for his sharp, geometric designs.

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