I.M. Pei is most known for his International Style and has designed some of the world’s greatest and most recognizable pieces of modern architecture. Join us as we pay tribute to his greatest accomplishments as he celebrates his 100th year around the sun.

Pei was born in Guangzhou in 1917. At the age of 17 years old, he traveled to San Francisco and from there enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study architecture and engineering. He expected to finish school, return to China, and live his life there as an architect. Although, life had other plans for Pei.

Pei graduated from MIT in 1939. Unfortunately, this was a tumultuous time for a war-torn China and his father advised him to stay in the United States. Pei graduated from Harvard University Graduate School of Design and was extremely influenced by one of the pioneering masters of modern architecture, Walter Gropius.

Here’s a look at some of the most iconic, modern masterpieces created by Pei throughout his impressive career: 

In 1963, Pei designed a very modest Christian chapel for Tunghai University in Taiwan. Brick walls curve up the sides to meet glass panels that continue to run down the back of the building. The inside was carefully crafted to battle the humid weather and any tectonic activity and features a lattice of criss-crossing concrete. 


Photo by Shutterstock User F11

Dallas City Hall was constructed in 1978. For this building, Pei chose to build a seven-story inverted triangle, because the lower civic spaces needed less room than the government offices on the top floors. 


Photo by Joao Pereira de Sousa

Le Grand Louvre is perhaps one of the most iconic structures in the world designed by Pei. In 1989, Pei created the glass and steel pyramids as part of a renovation of the former palace. 


Photo by Schuemann Architectural Photography

In 1995, Pei built the complex building on the waterfront of Lake Erie, known as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The structure consists of two triangular glass surfaces propped up by a 162-ft. tall tower. The space is an astonishing 55,000 sq. ft. 


Photo by alamy.com

In 2006, Pei was appointed to design the new building for the Suzhou Museum. Pei found inspiration in the vernacular structures of the ancient city for the institution.

Learn more about I.M. Pei’s career here

View more iconic works of I.M. Pei here