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Architect I.M. Pei, Who Designed Many Iconic Structures, Dies At 102

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The visionary architect I.M. Pei has died.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Yeah. His works include the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and the soaring Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong. But his, perhaps, most well-known design met fierce opposition, at least at first.

GREENE: Yeah, when his large glass and metal pyramid opened at the entrance to the Louvre Museum in Paris in 1988, it was not well-received at all. Here is Pei speaking to PBS.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

I M PEI: I would say the first year and a half was really hell. I really couldn't walk the streets of Paris without people walking and look at me as if to say, what are you doing to our great Louvre?

GREENE: But Pei was certain the design would come to be loved eventually. And, of course, he was right.

MARTIN: He was born in 1917 in China. And Pei drew inspiration from traditional Chinese gardens and pioneering modernists like Frank Lloyd Wright. In 1972, Pei spoke to NPR about the role of his craft.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

PEI: I would like to say that, perhaps, the important objective aside from fulfilling the function of use is that it inspires people and makes people feel like doing more or being more like himself.

MARTIN: Architect I.M. Pei - he died at the age of 102 years old. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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