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I.M. Pei, one of the most significant and revered architects in the world, has passed away at age 102.

Among the buildings that the China-born, Harvard-educated Pei designed are the East Building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the glass pyramid at the entrance to the Louvre in Paris, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland.

In its appreciation this morning, the New York Times writes that “Pei was one of the few architects who were equally attractive to real estate developers, corporate chieftains and art museum boards (the third group, of course, often made up of members of the first two). And all of his work — from his commercial skyscrapers to his art museums — represented a careful balance of the cutting edge and the conservative.”

The Times continues: “Pei remained a committed modernist, and while none of his buildings could ever be called old-fashioned or traditional, his particular brand of modernism — clean, reserved, sharp-edged and unapologetic in its use of simple geometries and its aspirations to monumentality — sometimes seemed to be a throwback, at least when compared with the latest architectural trends.

“This hardly bothered him. What he valued most in architecture, he said, was that it ‘stand the test of time.’ He maintained that he wanted not just to solve problems but also to produce ‘an architecture of ideas.’ He worried, he added, ‘that ideas and professional practice do not intersect enough’.”
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