Ieoh Ming Pei
The Gold Medal of the International Union of Architects (UIA) has been awarded to Ieoh Ming Pei. Born in Canton in 1917, the son of a Chinese banker travelled to the United States in 1935 to fulfill his dream of becoming an architect. In 1940 he had already graduated from Harvard’s GSD, with mentors like Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer. After obtaining a master’s degree in 1946, Pei began his career as architecture manager at a real estate company, and shortly after having obtained the US citizenship in 1954 he established his own studio, I.M. Pei & Associates, which would later become the international firm Pei, Cobb, Freed & Partners. Pei’s work is a combination of Asian origins, European modernity and American corporate spirit, a mixture that, added to the expressive purity and the geometric precision of his traces and details, explains his oeuvre, which includes many corporate buildings, but also a handful of examples – among them, the Louvre pyramid in Paris or the extraordinary Bank of China tower in Hong Kong, both of 1989 – which guarantee his name will remain on the list of the great architects of the 20th century.