renowned architect i.e. pei dies; worldwide legacy includes work in boulder, el paso, and denver
The American Institute of Architects has issued a statement following the death of legendary architect I.M Pei.
Robert Ivy, chief executive officer of the group, said that Pei “created lanterns that shone a light with the power of architecture.”
“His body of work, at once rational and artful, inspired generations, including his fellow architects, who were touched and encouraged by the power of his design and a life lived with dignity and purpose.”
Besides his work globally, Pei also left his mark in the West, most notably in 1956 when he designed the Mile High Center, a 23-floor structure that was one of Pei’s first high-rise projects, and the 16th Street Mall in the early 1980s, both in downtown Denver.
His other Denver work includes the now-demolished downtown Zeckendorf Plaza.
Pei also, in the mid-1960s, designed the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder.
For El Paso, Pei designed the air traffic control tower at the El Paso International Airport. That 1968 project resulted in the first such control tower in the U.S. to be more than 130 feet in height.
Born in Guangzhou, China in 1917, Pei moved to the U.S. in 1935 and attended both the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard before establishing his own firm, I.M. Pei & Associates in 1955.
His work in Denver, beginning in the early 1950s, also led to Pei redesigning the city’s Courthouse Square.
Pei’s Modernist style has been described by the New York Times as “clean, reserved, sharp-edged and unapologetic in its use of simple geometrics and its aspirations to monumentality.”
His other notable projects include a 70 foot-tall glass pyramid at the Louvre in Paris; the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston; and the East Building of the National Gallery of Art.
By Garry Boulard
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