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Asia Times | Creator of the Louvre Pyramid and the Bank of China Tower, IM Pei, remembered



When the famous Chinese-American architect Yeo Ming Pei, known as I. Pei, decided to give up the grain to add a modernist glass and steel pyramid to Lou Napoleon in the Louvre, his unusual design at the main entrance of the museum was greeted with delight out of indignation; critics call the structure an insult to the Renaissance aesthetics that the Louvre represents.

The controversy resumed when the Chinese Bank entrusted him, during approximately the same period, to design a new headquarters building for its subsidiary in the then British colony in Hong Kong. The Pritzker Prize-winning architect received inspiration from the emergence of bamboo shoots for the building but critics saw the 70-storey, 368-meter landmark – the highest in Asia at that time – as a strange ensemble of sharp, blade-like faces and asymmetric geometric models that contradicted Hong Kong's feng shui, which emphasizes the harmony and convergence of buildings with the surrounding environment.

It was then. Now the pyramid that was once out of place is the undeniable new symbol of the Louvre, and the tower of the Chinese Bank is one of the most recognizable skyscrapers on the planet.

Heritage of stone and glass

When the news came out that Pee had died in New York on Thursday at 102, the Louver wrote: "For 30 years, you have entered the Louvre with boldness and modernity. Your entry into the Louvre has blinded the world and has become an icon known as Mona Lisa. Thank you."

Many people in Hong Kong's architecture industry also say they are delighted by China's emblematic and ultra-modern tower and can not think of the city's brilliant silhouette without it.

The Louvre pyramid. Photos: Sunny Sky for Asia Times

The Tower of China, the tallest building in Asia, completed in 1990, overlooks Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong. Photos: Brochure
Worker in the construction of the tower of the Bank of China, the site of Hong Kong in 1989 Photo: Ron McMillan

Pei thinks the Louvre Committee for the hardest job in his career. After discovering the new entrance in 1993, he told Reuters he wanted to create a modern space that would not divert the traditional part of the museum.

His equally controversial Tower of China Bank consists of four triangular shafts rising from a square base supported by a visible structure of the farm that distributes the tension to the four corners of the base. The climb ends with a sloping roof, which corresponds to the growing aesthetics of the majestic tower. Before the Pey Project was completed, most skyscrapers in the city did not have a truly architectural character.

Minimalism and modernity

Born in Guangzhou, a prominent banking family growing up in Hong Kong and Shanghai, educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard School of Design, now the legendary Pee is also the creator of the John F. National Art Gallery and the Embassy of China Embassy . He is also designing the Ohio Hall of Fame, Dallas City Hall, Ville-Marie Square in Montreal, Miho in Kyoto, and the Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar.

Sing is particularly well-known for its completely modernist style, combining traditional architectural elements with minimalist geometric design, like ordinary circles, squares, cubes and triangles. According to the Louvre, he often worked with glass pyramids in his projects.

East Building of the National Art Gallery in Washington. Photo: brochure
Pei designed the Suzhou Museum, in his native home in East China. Photo: Xinhua

The 100-year-old, who lived in Manhattan, withdrew from his commercial practice in the early 2000s, after watching the design of the Suzhou Museum in his home town in Jiangsu province in eastern China.

Looking back on his career, Singe once said: "For me, the important distinction is between a stylistic approach to design and an analytical approach that gives due consideration to time, place and purpose … My analytical approach requires full work. understanding the essential elements … to achieve the ideal balance between them. "


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