No one combines art and functionality like an architect. Sure, there are plenty of buildings that are boring and ugly but certainly few by I.M. Pei have those distinctions.
Pei is not only a designer of icons like the glass-and-steel pyramid for Musée du Louvre, and the John F. Kennedy Library, he demonstrated his entrepreneurial capabilities by creating his own firm I.M. Pei & Associates in 1955 which became I.M. Pei & Partners in 1966 and eventually Pei Cobb Freed & Partners in 1989.
Now retired, Pei turns 100 this week. Of course, his legacy will last hundreds more years, if not only in his buildings, then in his words.
1. "Stop worrying about missed opportunities and start looking for new ones."
2. "Great artists need great clients."
3. "Life is architecture and architecture is the mirror of life."
4. "Success is a collection of problems solved."
5. "It is not an individual act, architecture. You have to consider your client. Only out of that can you produce great architecture. You cannot work in the abstract."
6. "I want to bring out the best in a community and contribute something of permanent value."
7. "You cannot defend your design without knowing what you're designing for."
8. "Let's do it right. This is for the ages."
9. "Be the best, not necessarily the original."
11. "I didn't want to think about a project that I couldn't finish. That's a kind of temptation. One has to realize one's limitations. Why kid yourself?"
12. "A lasting architecture has to have roots. "
13. "Modern architecture needed to be part of an evolutionary, not a revolutionary, process."
14. "One thing I learn - I've been in practice now for half a century or more, and the most important ingredient for an architect to do a good building is to have a good client. I think a client counts for as much as fifty per cent."
15. "Even a beautiful piece of work can be overshadowed, destroyed, by something else."
16. "I believe that architecture is a pragmatic art. To become art it must be built on a foundation of necessity."
17. "Many of the projects I'm most proud of are tall buildings, especially the housing projects. In New York I have two: one in Kips Bay and one at the New York University. At that time, those projects were most challenging."
18. "I have taken any new projects in the past years. I told myself, if I cannot live long enough to finish it, I don't want it."