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AD Classics: Suzhou Museum / I.M. Pei + Pei Partnership Architects

08:00 - 11 May, 2018
AD Classics: Suzhou Museum / I.M. Pei + Pei Partnership Architects, © Chenxing Mi
© Chenxing Mi

As one of the latest built works of acclaimed Pritzker architect I.M. Pei, Suzhou Museum was built in the heart of his hometown, Suzhou, China. As one of the last surviving modernists, the architect strove to bring together both his modernist sensibilities as well as the Suzhou vernacular. Sited on the northeast section of the historic quarter of Suzhou, the museum is adjacent to the landmarked Zhong Wang Fu, a complex of 19th-century historical residences, and the Garden of the Humble Administrator, a 16th-century garden listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. [1]

Images in this article were captured in 2016 by Rome-based photographer, Chenxing Mi. Read the full article after the break.

© Chenxing Mi © Chenxing Mi © Chenxing Mi © Chenxing Mi + 26

Spotlight: I.M. Pei

12:30 - 26 April, 2018
Spotlight: I.M. Pei, Le Grande Louvre. Image © Greg Kristo
Le Grande Louvre. Image © Greg Kristo

Chinese-American architect Ieoh Ming Pei (born April 26, 1917), is arguably the greatest living member of the modernist generation of architects. When he received his Pritzker Prize in 1983, the jury citation stated that he "has given this century some of its most beautiful interior spaces and exterior forms."

11 Works of Asian Architecture in Full Bloom

12:00 - 8 April, 2018
11 Works of Asian Architecture in Full Bloom, © Miho Museum
© Miho Museum

This week, we present a selection of the best images of Asian architecture in bloom. These 11 projects from Japan and South Korea incorporate the springtime beauty of trees such as cherry and almond. Read on for a selection of images from prominent photographers such as Shigetomo Mizuno and Kai Nakamura.

Who Has Won the Pritzker Prize?

08:00 - 25 February, 2018
Who Has Won the Pritzker Prize?, Pritzker Prize 2017 Ceremony: Ryue Nishizawa, Tadao Ando, Kazuyo Sejima, Rafael Aranda, Glenn Murcutt, Carme Pigem, Ramon Vilalta, Toyo Ito, Shigeru Ban. Image © The Hyatt Foundation / Pritzker Architecture Prize
Pritzker Prize 2017 Ceremony: Ryue Nishizawa, Tadao Ando, Kazuyo Sejima, Rafael Aranda, Glenn Murcutt, Carme Pigem, Ramon Vilalta, Toyo Ito, Shigeru Ban. Image © The Hyatt Foundation / Pritzker Architecture Prize

The Pritzker Prize is the most important award in the field of architecture, awarded to a living architect whose built work "has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity through the art of architecture." The Prize rewards individuals, not entire offices, as took place in 2000 (when the jury selected Rem Koolhaas instead of his firm OMA) or in 2016 (with Alejandro Aravena selected instead of Elemental); however, the prize can also be awarded to multiple individuals working together, as took place in 2001 (Herzog & de Meuron), 2010 (Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA), and 2017 (Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem, and Ramon Vilalta of RCR Arquitectes).

The award is an initiative funded by Jay Pritzker through the Hyatt Foundation, an organization associated with the hotel company of the same name that Jay founded with his brother Donald in 1957. The award was first given in 1979, when the American architect Philip Johnson, was awarded for his iconic works such as the Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut.

The Pritzker Prize has been awarded for almost forty straight years without interruption, and there are now 18 countries with at least one winning architect. To date, half of the winners are European; while the Americas, Asia, and Oceania share the other twenty editions. So far, no African architect has been awarded, making it the only continent without a winner.

The Stories Behind 7 of the Most Iconic Eyeglasses in Architecture

09:30 - 11 December, 2017
The Stories Behind 7 of the Most Iconic Eyeglasses in Architecture

Eyeglasses: the quintessential accessory of the architect. They are mini pieces of architecture you can wear, and an outward expression of your inner persona. Whether they be square, round, or wire-frame, black, white, tortoiseshell, or bright neon tones, they represent our visionary ideals. As such, many of the most iconic spectacles have an interesting history behind them; so here are the stories behind seven of the most recognizable eyeglasses in the architecture world.

The Evolution of Light in IM Pei’s Museums, from Dark Concrete Voids to Luminous Glass Pyramids

09:30 - 11 October, 2017
The Evolution of Light in IM Pei’s Museums, from Dark Concrete Voids to Luminous Glass Pyramids, Illuminated glass pyramid at Grand Louvre during twilight, Paris / France. Architecture: I. M. Pei & Partners, New York. Lighting design: Claude and Danielle Engle, Washington. Photography: Thomas Mayer. Image © ERCO GmbH, www.erco.com
Illuminated glass pyramid at Grand Louvre during twilight, Paris / France. Architecture: I. M. Pei & Partners, New York. Lighting design: Claude and Danielle Engle, Washington. Photography: Thomas Mayer. Image © ERCO GmbH, www.erco.com

Although the Louvre pyramid, often recognized as his masterwork, created a luminous icon for presenting culture, IM Pei’s early museums were characterized by the harsh shadows of brutalism. Project by project, the Chinese-American master developed a sophisticated, open architectural language. Pei’s holistic approach for welcoming museum visitors comprises powerful symbols which utilize sunlight to its fullest during the daytime, while employing the magical glow of illumination in the evening.

Whereas most assessments of the Louvre have praised the achievements of the luminous pyramid as seen above the ground, the actual design challenge laid underground, in offering visitors a successful underground space. Later, Pei transferred his language to multiple other museum projects, where light was always a key factor in defining museum experiences. In a year of celebratory events such as “Rethinking Pei: A Centenary Symposium,” which begins tomorrow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, an examination of Pei’s use of light in museums can contribute an important cultural emphasis.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Cleveland / USA. Architecture: Pei Cobb Freed & Partners Architects. Image © Timothy Hursley Night view of Suzhou Museum, Suzhou / China. Architecture: Pei Partnership Architects. Photography: Kerin Ip. Image © Pei Partnership Architects Atrium at Deutsches Historisches Museum (German Historical Museum), Berlin / Germany. Architecture: Pei Associates, New York. Photography: Rudi Meisel. Image © ERCO GmbH, www.erco.com Tetrahedral glass tent at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Cleveland / USA. Architecture: Pei Cobb Freed & Partners Architects. Image © Panoramio user Bohao Zhao <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rock_%5E_Roll_Hall_of_Frame_-_panoramio.jpg'>via Wikimedia</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en'>CC BY 3.0</a> + 29

The Unexpected First Jobs of Seven Famous Architects

09:30 - 31 July, 2017
The Unexpected First Jobs of Seven Famous Architects

Seniority is infamously important in the field of architecture. Despite occasionally being on the butt end of wage jokes, the field can actually pay relatively well—assuming that you’ve been working for a couple of decades. Even Bjarke Ingels, the tech-savvy, video-producing, Netflix-documentary-starring provocateur and founder of the ultra-contemporary BIG isn’t a millennial; at 42 the Dane is a full nine years older than Mark Zuckerberg.

As a result of this, it's common to lead a rich and complex life before finding architectural fame, and many of the world’s most successful architects started their careers off in an entirely different field. If you haven't landed your dream job yet, you may find the following list of famous architects' first gigs reassuring.

13 Buildings That Have Aged Magnificently

09:30 - 5 June, 2017
13 Buildings That Have Aged Magnificently

Humanity always cherishes great works of art that stand the test of time. This June, for example, marks the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ psychedelic Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and the 20th anniversary of Radiohead’s dystopian Ok Computer. These psychologically satisfying birthdays have generated serious appreciation and nostalgia. Similarly, we also love to praise the longevity of innovative architecture. The AIA bestows an annual “Twenty-five Year Award” to acknowledge projects that have "stood the test of time” and “exemplify design of enduring significance.” But one project a year seems stingy. Below are 15 modern classics which, though not always given the easiest start in life, we’ve come to adore:

© <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/leandrociuffo/3665886505'>Flickr user Leandro Neumann Ciuffo</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en'>CC BY 2.0</a> © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/aseles/6149740236'>Flickr user Andrew Seles</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/'>CC BY-ND 2.0</a> © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/g_firkser/6233067891'>Flickr user Gavin Firkser</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en'>CC BY 2.0</a> © <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bank-of-china_clean-img-sma.jpg'>Wikimedia user LERA Engineering</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 3.0</a> + 14

23 Examples of Impressive Museum Architecture

08:00 - 18 May, 2017

Designing a museum is always an exciting architectural challenge. Museums often come with their own unique needs and constraints--from the art museum that needs specialist spaces for preserving works, to the huge collection that requires extensive archive space, and even the respected institution whose existing heritage building presents a challenge for any new extension. In honor of International Museum Day, we’ve selected 23 stand-out museums from our database, with each ArchDaily editor explaining what makes these buildings some of the best examples of museum architecture out there.

I.M. Pei’s Inspiration: A Comparison of Masterful Architecture with Minimalist Art

09:30 - 26 April, 2017
I.M. Pei’s Inspiration: A Comparison of Masterful Architecture with Minimalist Art, I.M. Pei's JFK Presidential Library and Museum in Massachusetts. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/masstravel/8568079947'>Flickr user masstravel</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/'>CC BY-ND 2.0</a>
I.M. Pei's JFK Presidential Library and Museum in Massachusetts. Image © Flickr user masstravel licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Today, April 26th 2017, marks I.M. Pei’s 100th birthday. The occasion offers a wonderful opportunity to take a retrospective look at one of the most significant and productive architects of the past 100 years, with many organizations hosting events, celebrations, and symposiums to talk about Master Pei and his notable projects. However at these events, just as throughout I.M. Pei’s career, there is unlikely to be much intellectual conversation about Pei’s architectural legacy. The main discussion around I.M. Pei is still focused on his design talent and intriguing narratives about the charisma he used to convince clients to continue through tough projects.

Though I.M. Pei himself has never talked at length about his design theory or the intellectual basis of his projects, these simple narratives leave certain questions unanswered: Where does I.M. Pei’s inspiration for architectural form come from? How did his architectural design affect his peer group of architects and artists, and contribute intellectually to the contemporary art world?

A Young Architect's Chance Encounter With Living Legend I.M. Pei

08:30 - 26 April, 2017
A Young Architect's Chance Encounter With Living Legend I.M. Pei, Villa Punto de Vista, the resort designed by David Konwiser at which I.M. Pei was the first guest. Image © Sergio Pucci
Villa Punto de Vista, the resort designed by David Konwiser at which I.M. Pei was the first guest. Image © Sergio Pucci

Imagine having a world famous architect be the first inhabitant of your debut solo architecture project - and not just any architect, but I.M. Pei, who turns an incredible 100 years today. This unlikely turn of events actually happened to Costa Rican architect David Konwiser 7 years ago when Pei rented out Konwiser’s Villa Punto de Vista for New Years, although the unbelievable chance encounter almost didn’t become a reality. Just two and a half months prior to Pei’s arrival, the villa was more construction site than materialized building. Understandably, those two and a half months were, in Konwiser's own words, "the most difficult... of my career - and likely my life," as the architect writes in an article for the Architectural Digest. Despite that immense pressure, or perhaps because of it, the villa was ready for its first, and arguably its most important, visitor.

Why IM Pei’s Museum of Islamic Art is the Perfect Building to Suit Doha’s Style

09:30 - 16 March, 2017

#donotsettle is an online video project created by Wahyu Pratomo and Kris Provoost about architecture and the way it is perceived by its users. Having published a number of videos on ArchDaily over the past two years, Pramoto and Provoost are now launching an exclusive column, “#donotsettle extra,” which will accompany some of their #donotsettle videos with in-depth textual analysis of the buildings they visit.

In our first installment we are taking you to Doha, the capital of Qatar, where we visited the Museum of Islamic Art. For some years, this museum was the only architecture fix you could find in Doha, but recently this has changed, with projects almost completed by Jean Nouvel and Rem Koolhaas, and will continue to change leading up to the 2022 World Cup. The building was designed by IM Pei who, when the building was constructed in the mid-2000s, was retired but was persuaded to commit his time to design this prominent museum. And prominent it for sure is. Mister Pei, you know how to make your building stand out. Standing off the mainland, a solid natural stone structure rises out of the water.

© Wahyu Pratomo and Kris Provoost © Wahyu Pratomo and Kris Provoost © Wahyu Pratomo and Kris Provoost © Wahyu Pratomo and Kris Provoost + 9

The Unexpected Stories Behind 10 Skyscrapers That Were Actually Built

04:00 - 24 January, 2017
The Unexpected Stories Behind 10 Skyscrapers That Were Actually Built, Torre Velasca. Image © José Tomás Franco
Torre Velasca. Image © José Tomás Franco

As long as there have been buildings mankind has sought to construct its way to the heavens. From stone pyramids to steel skyscrapers, successive generations of designers have devised ever more innovative ways to push the vertical boundaries of architecture. Whether stone or steel, however, each attempt to reach unprecedented heights has represented a vast undertaking in terms of both materials and labor – and the more complex the project, the greater the chance for things to go awry.

Ryugyong Hotel. Image © José Tomás Franco Robot Building. Image © José Tomás Franco CCTV Headquarters. Image © José Tomás Franco Cayan Tower. Image © José Tomás Franco + 21

I.M. Pei's Le Grande Louvre Wins AIA 25 Year Award

12:00 - 16 December, 2016
I.M. Pei's Le Grande Louvre Wins AIA 25 Year Award, © Koji Horiuchi. Courtesy of AIA
© Koji Horiuchi. Courtesy of AIA

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected The Grand Louvre – Phase I as the recipient of the 2017 AIA Twenty-five Year Award. Designed by I.M. Pei with his firm Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, the project is notable for its 71-foot-tall glass and stainless steel pyramid, which according to the AIA, “now rivals the Eiffel Tower as one of France’s most recognizable architectural icons.”

The award is presented annually to a project that has "stood the test of time by embodying architectural excellence for 25 to 35 years."

© Benoit Perrin. Courtesy of AIA © Koji Horiuchi. Courtesy of AIA © Koji Horiuchi. Courtesy of AIA © Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. Courtesy of AIA + 5

The Strange Habits of Top Architects

07:00 - 10 October, 2016

Well-known architects are easy to admire or dismiss from afar, but up close, oddly humanizing habits often come to light. However, while we all have our quirks, most people's humanizing habits don't give an insight into how they became one of the most notable figures in their field of work. The following habits of several top architects reveal parts of their creative process, how they relax, or simply parts of their identity. Some are inspiring and some are surprising, but all give a small insight into the mental qualities that are required to be reach the peak of the architectural profession—from an exceptional work drive to an embrace of eccentricity (and a few more interesting qualities besides).

How Painter Ben Johnson Takes Architectural Representation to Incredible Levels of Realism

04:00 - 8 December, 2015
How Painter Ben Johnson Takes Architectural Representation to Incredible Levels of Realism, 'Approaching the Mirador' (2013, acrylic on canvas, 89 x 59in / 225 x 150cm). Image © Ben Johnson
'Approaching the Mirador' (2013, acrylic on canvas, 89 x 59in / 225 x 150cm). Image © Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson is a painter preoccupied by realism – especially when it comes to the two-dimensional representation of architectural space. A British artist practicing in London, Johnson has been working professionally since the mid-1960s. In that time his extensive œuvre has encompassed painted cityscapes and prints to depictions of rooms designed—among others—by Norman Foster, John Pawson, I. M. Pei, and David Chipperfield.

'Room of the Niobids II' (2011, acrylic on canvas, 71 x 99in / 180 x 252cm): depiction of the Neues Museum (Berlin) by David Chipperfield Architects & Julian Harrap. Image © Ben Johnson 'Fatherland Room' (2014, acrylic on canvas, 71 x 93in / 180 x 237cm): depiction of the Neues Museum (Berlin) by David Chipperfield Architects & Julian Harrap. Image © Ben Johnson 'Roman Room' (2014, acrylic on canvas, 71 x 93in / 180 x 237cm): depiction of the Neues Museum (Berlin) by David Chipperfield Architects & Julian Harrap. Image © Ben Johnson 'Room of the Niobids' (2011, acrylic on canvas, 71 x 99in / 180 x 252cm): depiction of the Neues Museum (Berlin) by David Chipperfield Architects & Julian Harrap. Image © Ben Johnson + 19

25 Architects You Should Know

16:00 - 18 July, 2015
25 Architects You Should Know, © Flickr CC user victortsu
© Flickr CC user victortsu

As an unavoidable art form, “architecture is one of humanity’s most visible and long-lasting forms of expression,” writes Complex Media. Within the past 150 years—the period of modern architecture—a distinct form of artistry has developed, significantly changing the way we look at the urban environments around us. To highlight some of the key figures in architecture over the past 150 years, Complex Media has created a list of “25 Architects You Should Know,” covering a range of icons including Zaha HadidIeoh Ming PeiPhilip JohnsonOscar NeimeyerSOMDaniel Libeskind, and more. Read the full list to learn more about each iconic architect, here.

Like Father, Like Son: 4 Famous Architecture Dynasties

08:00 - 21 June, 2015
Like Father, Like Son: 4 Famous Architecture Dynasties, Gateway Arch / Eero Saarinen. Image Courtesy of Flickr CC Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, NPS https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffnps/
Gateway Arch / Eero Saarinen. Image Courtesy of Flickr CC Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, NPS https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffnps/

While Eliel and Eero Saarinen may be the most well known father-son architect duo, they are certainly not the only pair to have left their mark in the field. As far back as the 1700s, the Gabriel father and son dynasty (Jacques V and Ange-Jacques) constructed much of Versailles, and more recently both I.M. Pei and Lewis Davis have passed their legacy onto their sons. In honor of Father's Day, we look at four father-son architecture dynasties and their lasting influence on the profession, after the break.