Royal Honors for Starchitect I.M. Pei

Glass pyramids and cylindrical stucco facades both fall under the geometric umbrella of Chinese-American architect I. M. Pei, who has just been announced as winner of QE2’s prestigious Royal Gold Medal. The 92-year-old architect, recognized for projects like the Louvre pyramid, retired from full-time practice in 1990. Since then, he has taken on work as an architectural consultant, supervising a round of museum commissions from Qatar to China.

Museum of Islamic Art

Museum of Islamic Art

2008: Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar, which covers a 376,740-square-foot area sited in Doha Bay in the Arabian Gulf.


2006: Luxembourg’s Mudam (or, Musée d’art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean) was built on the site of the old Fort Thüngen in the northeast of the city.

Ieoh Ming Pei was born in 1917 in China, and arrived in the U.S. to study architecture at MIT and Harvard on the cusp of the International Style movement, led by his professors Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer. He started his namesake practice to balance a workload of institutional, residential, and commercial commissions, later winning the 1983 Pritzker Prize for his contribution to the canon of architecture. A prolific fellow, Pei has completed a whopping 170 projects so far in his lifetime.


Louvre Pyramid

1989: Pei takes on an addition to the Louvre, an entrance carousel pairing two glass pyramids, one inverted and one extroverted, an especially striking effect at night.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

1995: Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.

National Gallery of Art

1974: The eastern wing of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

For more insight on Pei’s career, read his interview with Architectural Record.