Keywords Change this

Pritzker Prize

Birth date / place

April 26th 1917, Guangzhou, China

Selected Architecture

Practice / Active in Change this

Pei Cobb Freed & Partners Architects
88 Pine Street
NY 10005 New York, USA

Linked to Change this

Walter Gropius
Marcel Breuer
Georgi Konstantinovski

Awards Change this

  • 1983 - Pritzker Prize
  • 2010 - RIBA Gold Medal

Change this

"I believe that architecture is a pragmatic art. To become art it must be built on a foundation of necessity."
I. M. Pei

I. M. Pei Change this

Change thisNew York, USA
born 1917, Guangzhou

IM Pei in front of the Louvre, 1989

1 of 15

About Change this

Ieoh Ming Pei (born April 26th, 1917), commonly known by his initials I. M. Pei, is a Chinese American architect. He was born in Guangzhou, China and arrived in the United States at the age of 17 to study architecture.

Training and tuition

He received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from MIT in 1940. Upon graduation he was awarded the Alpha Rho Chi Medal, the MIT Traveling Fellowship, and the AIA Gold Medal. In 1942, Pei enrolled in the Harvard Graduate School of Design where he studied under Walter Gropius. Six months later, he volunteered his services to the National Defense Research Committee in Princeton. Pei returned to Harvard in 1944 and completed his M.Arch in 1946, simultaneously teaching on the faculty as an assistant professor (1945–48). Awarded the Wheelwright Traveling Fellowship by Harvard in 1951, he traveled extensively in England, France, Italy and Greece. I. M. Pei became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1954.


His professional career started in 1948 when the real estate entrepreneur William Zeckendorf invited Mr. Pei to accept the newly created post of Director of Architecture at Webb & Knapp, a real estate development corporation, resulting in many large-scale architectural and planning projects across the country. In 1955 he formed the partnership of I. M. Pei & Associates, which became I. M. Pei & Partners in 1966, and Pei Cobb Freed & Partners in 1989. The partnership received the 1968 Architectural Firm Award of the American Institute of Architects.

Mr. Pei's personal architectural style blossomed with his design for the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado (1961–67). He subsequently gained broad national attention with the East Building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington (1968–78) and the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library in Boston (1965-79) — two of some thirty institutional projects executed by Mr. Pei. Others include churches, hospitals, and municipal buildings, as well as schools, libraries, and over a dozen museums. In 1974 he returned to China for the first time to design a hotel at Fragrant Hills, and designed a skyscraper in Hong Kong for the Bank of China fifteen years later. In Europe he is probably most well known worfor his design of the Pyramid of the Grand Louvre in Paris.


Pei has won a wide variety of prizes and awards in the field of architecture, including the AIA Gold Medal in 1979, the first Praemium Imperiale for Architecture in 1989, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in 2003. In 1983, Mr. Pei was chosen the Laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. He used the $100,000 award to establish a scholarship fund for Chinese students to study architecture in the United States (with the strict proviso that they return to China to practice their profession). Among the many academic awards bestowed on Mr. Pei are honorary doctorates from Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, New York University, Brown University, the University of Colorado, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and the American University of Paris.


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