Sunday, January 04, 2009

I. M. Intrigued

One of my Christmas presents is a Page-a-Day "1,000 Places to See Before you Die" calendar. I love it! It has quotes, pictures, quizzes, and lots of information about places all over the world. Since I like lists, and quotes, and traveling, this is the ideal calendar for me. It will set my imagination going every time I look at it, and keep me thinking and learning about places I've either been or hope to go to someday. Today's picture is of the glass pyramid at the Louvre in Paris that was designed by renowned architect Ieoh Ming Pei, more commonly known as I. M. Pei who was China born (1917) but Boston educated (MIT, Harvard), and which I saw shortly after it was completed in 1989. Pei is known as the last master of high modernist architecture. He works with the abstract form, using stone, concrete, glass, and steel.

I first learned about Pei in 1973 when the infamous Hancock Tower was being built in Boston (completed in 1076). That was my senior year in high school and every Tuesday the seniors went into Boston to do service work. My group had to walk by the construction site for some reason, and I remember that the sidewalks going by the building were covered over to protect us from falling glass. Apparently the all-glass exterior kept exploding until they could get the air pressure inside right. Seems like it was a big to-do at the time.

Pei also designed the Kennedy Library (1979) here in Boston. This, too, has an all-glass part of its structure. Perhaps this is a Pei trademark? If you want to learn more about Pei and see the extensive list of his projects, go here. He's pretty amazing I think.

Pictures from Wikipedia entries on Pei, Hancock Tower, and Kennedy Library.

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