HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE MOST ICONIC ARCHITECT OF OUR TIME: I.M. PEI. Born in Guangzhou, China on April 26, 1917, Ieoh Ming Pei moved to the United States at the age of 17 to study architecture at the University of Pennsylvania and after a brief stint in the engineering department at MIT, Pei returned to architecture there and then at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He later began his career in New York where he still lives today.
“New York,” realized I.M. Pei, “is the most exciting city in the world, it pulsates with life.”
He became world-famous for the many masterful structures he designed: The Bank of China Buildingthat shaped Hong Kong’s skyline in 1989, the Miho Museum outside of Kyoto, which was built into a mountain, and the Four Seasons Hotel in New York which set standards from the day it opened.
Pei was once pilloried for plonking a glass pyramid into the courtyard of the centuries-old Louvre, reports the UK Telegraph. He endured a roasting from critics even before the giant glass structure opened in 1989, with up to 90% of Parisians said to be against the project at one point. Today, however, it’s a different story. Pei is effusively lauded for creating a masterpiece ahead of its time.
The glass pyramid of the Louvrewas completed in 1988. Described by Pei as his most difficult project, it infused the world’s largest museum with a dash of modernity. The Museum of Islamic Artin Qatar was completed in 2008; Pei designed it at age 91.
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Geometric designs, large abstract forms and a unique use of light are the main elements of Pei’s signature style; many of the more than 50 buildings he designed still stand out today and impress with power and clarity.
The only condominium building he ever created is the Centurion in the heart of New York City, at 33 West 56th Street. It shares many design elements with Pei’s best structures as it combines elegant solidity with geometric precision. Pei even insisted on French limestone for the facade and the foyer of the building, the same he used at the Louvre. Exclusive materials from the East and the West form a perfect harmony.
Other than Pei’s skyscrapers and museum buildings, a piece of the Centurion can be privately owned. “We currently have two penthouses available,” says Thomas Guss of New York Residence Inc, a real estate company at NYR.com who is in charge of sales at the building. “Occasionally we even get a smaller unit for resale. Each apartment is a true collector’s item,” says Guss.
No wonder that some of the most discerning buyers from all over the world have made the Centurion their first or second home and enjoy the very private and refined experience to reside in a building created by a living legend.
The Centurion honoured his architect with a classical concert in the Waterfall Lobby of the building; Performers included pianist Marika Bournaki and The Metropolitan Chamber Players with Julian Schwarz ; an outstanding group of young world-class performers. The programme featured works by Chopin, one of I.M. Pei’s favourite composers. (source: partially from PRWire)