Asian Inspiration: I. M. Pei

Happy Thursday, everyone! I know that people are likely stressed out from Finals, so take a break with some beautiful architecture! For our second Asian Inspiration post, lets take a look at I. M. Pei!


Isn’t that a cute smiling face? Ieoh Ming Pei is a world renowned architect, known most famously for his glass-and-steel pyramid that stands in front of the Louvre.


I actually grew up observing a lot of I.M. Pei’s works (my father is a fan) and they really are amazing in person. But Pei himself is also an amazing subject to learn about.

Although Pei is Chinese by descent, he is also a naturalized American citizen. He moved to the United States nearly 80 years ago to attend MIT and Harvard (Class of 1940 and 1946 respectively). Today, Pei is 97, and is the oldest recipient of the Pritzker Prize, a prestigious award that is sometimes called the Nobel Prize of architecture.


Pictured Above: The Museum of Islamic Art, Doha.

Pei is known for incorporating traditional Chinese symbols into his architecture, but he also has a diverse style that really suits the environment. In his 1983 acceptance speech of the Pritzker Prize, Pei said:

I believe that architecture is a pragmatic art. To become art it must be built on a foundation of necessity. Freedom of expression, for me, consists in moving within a measured range that I assign to each of my undertakings. How instructive it is to remember Leonardo da Vinci’s counsel that “strength is born of constraint and dies in freedom.”

I personally find it amazing how he manages to create beautiful works within constraint. As we continue through final exams and papers, let’s all aspire to create pragmatic art in our works!

If you have a suggestion for a future Asian Inspiration, feel free to leave a message in Generasian’s Ask, Twitter, or Facebook!

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