Monday, September 5, 2016

I. M. Pei - Famous architect

Ieoh Ming Pei was born in Guangzhou, China in 1917, the son of a prominent banker. He moved to New York to study architecture and established his first architectural firm in 1955.

Pei became famous for designing the Bank of China Building in Hong Kong and the Pyramid at the Louvre in Paris. Many of his best buildings may be found in the United States, including the Four Seasons Hotel on 57th Street in New York, the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, the National Gallery of Art's East Building in Washington, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. These light-flooded structures are powerful and impress with exceptional clarity.

Students attending SANS Rocky Mountain will be able to visit one of his wonders. Historic Denver, "The idea to create a mall on 16th street in Denver began as early as 1959, but was not given serious consideration until 1971. Following years of planning and construction, the 16th Street Mall, designed by the internationally renowned architectural firm I.M. Pei & Partners of New York, opened on October 4, 1982 to a crowd of over 200,000 people. The main features of I.M. Pei’s design include poly-chromatic granite pavers, wide sidewalks, and a central tree lined corridor flanked by iconic lighting fixtures. Now, decades later, the 16th Street Mall has evolved into the veritable “heart and soul” of downtown Denver and a top visitor attraction in the metropolitan area. Its free shuttles serve an average of 55,000 commuters and tourists per day, creating significant wear and tear that jeopardize the original design and materials. However, in May 2008 a panel of experts from the Urban Land Institute declared the 16th Street Mall to be “public art of the highest international quality,” and strongly urged Denver to fix, not physically modify, the Mall."

Sadly, despite all of his incredible achievements, most news stories seem to be about the attack he suffered, According to the NY Daily News, "Eter Nikolaishvil, 28, “forcefully twisted” the 98-year-old icon's arm at his Manhattan townhouse on Dec. 13, 2015, according to court papers. Nikolaishvil agreed to complete eight anger management sessions. Prosecutors said Pei and his family were consulted on the plea offer that was made to the former employee."

Picture of Eter Nikolaishvili from NY Daily News story

He is also famous for the Centurion Condominium at 33 West 56th Street in the heart of Manhattan. PRNNEWS says, "Pei, now the world's most celebrated living architect, looks back at 70 years of groundbreaking architectural work across the globe. "Still, New York is the most exciting city in the world. It is pulsating with life - and architecture is the mirror of life," says Pei.

I.M. Pei would love to visit SANS Rocky Mountain 2017 where the courseware and instruction has the light and clarity he always sought for and a peek at the mall wouldn't hurt. And all those beaming projectors would certainly remind him of his greatest work, Pyramide du Louvre.

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