I. M. Pei (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: Through his designs for major public buildings, Pei helped shape architectural design in the second half of the twentieth century. Equally skilled in the conceptual process of design, urban development, and client and community politics, he succeeded in completing buildings under complicated and difficult urban situations.
Ieoh Ming Pei was born to Tsuyie and Lien Kwun Pei in 1917. In the Chinese calendar, 1917 was a year of the snake, and individuals born under this symbol are traditionally characterized by wisdom, charm, and intuition. Pei’s father, a prosperous banker, was descended from an ancient family of almost mandarin standing. His banking responsibilities moved the family from Canton to Hong Kong and then to Shanghai, where Pei attended a Western missionary school. Though he passed the entrance examinations for Oxford University, Pei insisted, against paternal advice, on attending college in the United States. He entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1935, where he was an outstanding student. He received his bachelor’s degree in architectural design in 1940.
He had met Eileen (Ai-Ling) Loo, another student from China, in 1938. She was attending Wellesley College for Women, but her interest in landscape architecture led to associations with the Harvard School of Design. Through Loo, Pei was introduced to the school, where he rapidly received the...
(The entire section is 2085 words.)
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