James Ingo Freed



On 15 December, the New York office of Ieoh Ming Pei lost one of its partners, James Ingo Freed, connected to the firm since 1956. Born to a Jewish family in Essen, Germany, as a child he was forced to escape Nazi persecution by leaving the country. He graduated in 1953 from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, where he would return to be dean of architecture from 1975 to 1978. He worked briefly in the studio of Mies van der Rohe, taking part in the project for the Seagram Building, before joining Pei & Partners, which in 1980 became Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. Responsible for works like the Jacob K. Javits convention center in L.A., and the San Francisco public library, he is most remembered for the Holocaust Memorial in Washington, D.C., a project charged with symbolism through which he reencountered his origins. Shunning grandiose gestures, Freed focused on reproducing the atmosphere of horror that the victims of the Holocaust suffered. Opinion on the building, inaugurated by Bill Clinton in 1993, was unanimous: its author had given full meaning to the expression ‘architecture of emotions.’

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