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HIGHLIGHT: I.M. PEI

NË VËMËNDJE: I.M. PEI

HIGHLIGHT: I.M. PEI

Ieoh Ming Pei’s architecture (1917 – 2019) can be characterized by its faith in modernism, humanized by its subtlety, lyricism, and beauty. Pei was born in Guangzhou China and came to the United States in 1935 to study first at the University of Pennsylvania and then at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Harvard Graduate School of Design. In 1955, he formed the partnership of I.M. Pei & Associates, which became I.M. Pei & Partners in 1966. The partnership received the 1968 Architectural Firm Award of The American Institute of Architects. In 1989, the firm was renamed Pei Cobb Freed and Partners.

Pei has designed over fifty projects in this country and abroad, many of which have been award winners. He has been chosen the 1983 Laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. Ieoh Ming Pei has given the last century some of its most beautiful interior spaces and exterior forms. The significance of his work goes far beyond them: for his concern has always been the surroundings in which his buildings would rise. He has refused to limit himself to a narrow range of architectural problems. His work includes not only palaces of industry, government and culture, but also some of the best moderate and low-income housing. His versatility and skill in the use of materials approach the level of poetry. Pei’s personal qualities of diplomacy and patience have enabled him to draw together disparate people and disciplines to create an harmonious environment.

I.M. PEI ARCHITECTURE

Two of his most prominent commissions have included the East Building of the National Gallery of Art (1978), in Washington, D.C., and the extension of the Louvre in Paris, France (1989). The need to modernize and expand the Louvre, while respecting its history and architecture, led to the centrally located glass pyramid which forms the new main entrance and provides direct access to galleries in each of the museum’s three wings. The pyramid also serves as a skylight for a very large expansion building constructed under the courtyard which provides all public amenities and technical support for the museum.

“Formally, it is the most compatible with the architecture of the Louvre…, it is also one of the most structurally stable of forms, which assures its transparency, as it is constructed of glass and steel, it signifies a break with the architectural traditions of the past. It is a work of our time.” – I.M.  Pei

the Louvre in Paris, France (1989).

National Center for Atmospheric Research – 1967

Boulder, Colorado

The National Center for Atmospheric Research is on a small plateau at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, near Boulder, Colorado… A tremendous scale of nature, where Pei has returned to the elemental forms of sheer walls of unfinished concrete of a dark reddish-brown aggregate to match the color of the mountains.  Conceived as a concentrated cluster of buildings in the more classically ‘contained’ sense, impinging minimally on the vegetation and topography of their mesa site at the edge of the Rockies, it too is attentive to site in that it is almost an element of urbanity delicately lowered into nature, yet, like the previous project, monumental in presence while not axially monumental in concept. — Citation from Paul Heyer

The National Center for Atmospheric Research is on a small plateau at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, near Boulder, Colorado... A tremendous scale of nature with a shimmering, reflective expanse of glass, where Pei has returned to the elemental forms of sheer walls of unfinished concrete of a dark reddish-brown aggregate to match the color of the mountains. Research facilities for five hundred scientists, adjoining common-use facilities across a terraced plaza, are grouped in towers of offices and laboratories to ensure a degree of privacy for individual research groups. Conceived as a concentrated cluster of buildings in the more classically 'contained' sense, impinging minimally on the vegetation and topography of their mesa site at the edge of the Rockies, it too is attentive to site in that it is almost an element of urbanity delicately lowered into nature, yet, like the previous project, monumental in presence while not axially monumental in concept. — from Paul Heyer
PHOTO BY TOM ROSS - THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR ATMOSPHERIC RESEARCH BY I.M. PEI

Everson Museum of Art – 1968

Syracuse, New York

With a collection focused largely on American art and ceramics, the Everson Museum exists as a structure that is more than just a vault for art. Designed in 1968 by I.M. Pei, the structure sought to simultaneously challenge the traditional museum typology through its innovative form while also existing as an object of modern art in its own right. Pei conceived the Everson as an open structure with access to its interior from all of its exposed sides. The building is primarily comprised of four opaque concrete volumes that surround an open atrium that visitors move through to access the galleries. Each volume contains galleries of differing size and height that when viewed from outside gives added hierarchy to the overall assemblage of forms that makeup the museum.

Everson Museum of Art - 1968

Herbert Johnson Museum of Art – 1973

Ithaca, New York

The Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art is primarily constructed out of concrete, the color and texture of which blends in with the surrounding old masonry buildings. I.M. Pei and his firm researched local materials in order to produce a unique mix of architectural concrete perfect for this specific building and location.  With a desire to make a dramatic statement while maintaining an optimal amount of scenic views, transparent open spaces and windows beautifully contrast the heaviness and boldness of the rectangular forms of concrete. The massive concerete structure is punctured by long horizontal bands of windows that run along the upper floors. These enhance the space of the galleries, complementing the artworks displayed while providing a bright and airy exhibition space.

Herbert Johnson Museum of Art - 1973 Ithaca, New York

OCBC Centre – 1976

Singapore

I.M. Pei’s task in designing the iconic OCBC Centre was to create a building of the future – one that would revitalise and regenerate the surrounding areas of shophouses and old offices. The 197.7 m (649 ft), 52-storey skyscraper was the tallest building in the country, and South East Asia, at that time. It was designed to be a symbol of strength and permanence. The building has been nicknamed the calculator due to its flat shape and windows which look like button pads.

OCBC Centre Singapore im pei

National Gallery of Art – 1978

Washington, DC

In response to the need to fulfill two distinct functions-an expansion museum and a study center—the trapezoidal site is sliced into two triangular buildings joined by a central atrium. In plan, section, and elevation, the interlocking volumes merge inseparably in a spatial dialogue of rigorous geometry, technical innovation, and exacting craftsmanship. Three flexible towers are organized around a light-filled central atrium, providing space for exhibitions of different scales.

National Gallery of Art - 1978 Washington, DC

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum – 1995

Cleveland, Ohio

With a design that embodies the music celebrated within, the building is an icon of the city that coined the term “rock and roll.”

Simple geometric forms are juxtaposed to combine diverse functions within a unified whole: a theater cantilevered over Lake Erie on one side balances a circular performance drum on the other, while a 165-foot-high orthogonal tower rises from the water to engage a tetrahedral glass tent. Like an explosive musical chord, the sculptural components reverberate out from the center.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum - 1995

Source: pritzkerprize.com; pcf-p.com; archdaily.com

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